Mentors Where Have You Gone?

I have opportunities to interact with younger generations from time to time.  At church, at school events, or just observing from a distant table at a local eatery, I hear and see things that continue to amaze me.  I remember when I was their age thinking, “They’re so out of touch.  They just don’t know reality.”  And I’m reminded that they’re now saying the same thing about me. 

The language these people use I’ve heard before.  After all, I was a police officer.  I’ve been called every name one could imagine.  In other words, I don’t have “virgin ears”.  What amazes me is the language used often isn’t because of anger.  It appears that one gets more points in life for the more “F bombs” he/she can add into a conversation.  If you use a four letter word that begins with “s” and ends with “t”, it’s just another typical day. 

Before you think I’m a little stuffy, let me assure you that’s not the case.  I understand there has always been those who choose to be liberal with their speech.  But has it become more popular?  Does the Freshman in High School try to fit in to the crowd by following the trend?  It seems so.  What is really disheartening is a 7 year-old child using those same words.  The other day, a kid from down the street showed up to play with my son and his friend.  Words were used which caused me to eventually send the kid home.  After doing so, I wondered where he learned those words.  As he was using the middle finger to communicate (on his way home), I’m wondering what his home life is like.

We’re called to mentor those younger than us.  I believe this includes those younger in age and those younger in the faith.  When they’re left to raise themselves, bad things can (and usually do) happen.  1 Peter  5:2 reads, “I exhort the elders among you to tend the flock of God that is in your charge, exercising the oversight, not under compulsion but willingly…”  Verse 5 of the same chapter reads, “You who are younger must accept the authority of the elders.  And all of you must clothe yourselves with humility…”  Peter calls us to mentor and to be mentored.  I’m afraid most mentors have disappeared.  Is your experience any different?

6 Responses to “Mentors Where Have You Gone?”

  1. As a teacher, I was given the opportunity to “set the example” for verbal behavior daily, at least in my classroom. I found my 5th graders to be very receptable to standards of speech. Whenever one of my students would use God’s name in vain, I simply quietly, but in front of others, asked him/her to please not use God’s name that way, because I found that offensive. After that, for that year I never had problems with it again. I believe it was out of respect for me, and I can attest that my students never heard God’s name used in vain, nor any cursing ever, from me. I do observe many more adults now using profanity on a daily basis, which is sad.

  2. Thanks for reading Yvette! And thanks for setting an example. I think you bring up a great point concerning respect. Your students respected you. The trouble is, often times they don’t respect (parents, teachers, coaches, authority in general). Our world is sliding down a slope at a rapid pace. And too often we just throw our hands up and sigh, “It’s the way of the world.” I won’t be comfortable with that. Thanks again.

  3. Brother, what a subject! I believe that we are all called to set examples for one-another. Young or old, we can all mentor. The main thing to remember is that age does not equate to respect. Respect is something we have to have for ourselves before we can see or honor it in others. So much of the people in the world today have no respect for anyone, because there nothing in their personal lives that hold any meaning to them. These people, young and old alike need to be made aware of how their actions affect those around them. These people need to remember how other peoples actions have affected them, in not only the bad but also the good. If they can see how blessed they have been when someone has treated them fairly and with respect, then they should also remember how they felt when something bad was done. Only when they can relate these life-experiences to their own actions will they learn to respect themselves and others. I truely believe that this is not just a youth problem. In all things seek GOD’S council!

    • Larry my friend, You wrote, “The main thing to remember is that age does not equate to respect.” I love that! Perhaps there’s levels of respect? In the military (or a job that uses rank), often times I found myself having to respect the rank. On the other hand, the person didn’t always have my respect.

      My parents taught me to respect my elders (I do the same with my kids). And I respect their experiences and show my respect. However, there’s still higher levels of respect (which as you point out) having nothing to do with age. Things like character, integrity, honor, trustworthy, genuineness ,etc. is what is missing. As we develop those traits in ourselves and help those around us develop the same, I believe God blesses. That’s what community is all about!

  4. The other day I picked up my son from a friends house and they were outside playing basketball in the neighborhood street with a bunch of kids their age. My son got in the car and started telling me his frustration with all the “little kids cussing” and how he wished he could just cuss at them back to make them feel as bad as they made him feel. I told him “the only one you will make feel bad by doing that is Jesus”. And I feel the same, Mike – I wonder what those kids home life is like. Our mom and dad raised us to believe there is a God in heaven who we are accountable to: Respect and fear God – somehow… there are less and less parents making children aware of how their actions and words can build or destroy – parents taking the time to point things out in the world – to help children recognize the difference between kindness and selflessness – and mean and selfish – plain as right and wrong – its all just… watered down.

    • Maria,
      I’m with you. The awesomeness of God should cause us to live our lives in ways that honor and glorify only Him. This includes what we say and how we say it. Sadly, the children we speak of have to learn it some where. I realize it may be their peers. But how many live in broken homes? How many children are left to “raise” themselves? And how many people are willing to step in and bride the gap? I ask you to join me in prayer about this situation in our broken world. Only God can restore!

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