The reports are continuous: We have a nation full of fatherless youth. With all respect to those growing up without a strong father presence, I choose not to focus on the negatives here. I’d rather provide practical ways we men can step up on how to be a good mentor to a fatherless boy.
Mentoring is a conditional calling, never at an expense to your own family. Yet, spending just one hour a week with a fatherless young man can reap positive and long-term rewards. Not sure where to start and perhaps even a bit intimidated? Don’t be. Most communities have a program through schools, after-school centers, or community organizations. Speaking from personal experience, mentoring can be just as rewarding to the mentor as it is to the mentee. Just follow this simple formula.
Show up (Be consistent!).
Single parents are heroes. I have worked with countless single moms and dads over the years. They seem to be able to pull off feats that many others cannot comprehend. Still, single parents are only one person and not always able to keep up with all the demands of life. A major component of how to be a good mentor is understanding the importance of commitment. Plan at least one school year, about once a week. Too many kids have been let down multiple times through broken or empty promises. If you say you are going to be there, follow through. If you cannot make your scheduled time, let the child, the mentoring program, and the child’s family know in advance. And be sure to reschedule right away.
Speak in (to his life).
A favorite verse of mine says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” This is exactly what a fatherless boy needs—to be verbally affirmed. Your words of encouragement provide him with a missing and crucial part in developing his identity as a man. Mentoring offers opportunities such as congratulating your mentee on an achievement, teaching him basic life skills like a handshake or how to hold a conversation, and letting him hear the words “I’m proud of you.”
Live out (your faith and values).Mentoring is an amazing opportunity to put your faith and values to action.
In his song “Be Like You,” rapper LeCrae says,
I got this emptiness inside that got me fighting for approval because I missed out on my daddy saying, “Way to go.” So now I’m looking at the media and following what they feed me. Even though they lie, they still tell me that they love me,
They say I’m good at bad things, at least they proud of me.
Mentoring is an amazing opportunity to put your faith and values to action—to show unconditional love to those who need it the most. It gives us the ability to actively model what authentic manhood looks like. When we do, the lies of the world are destroyed, and potentially, a life is saved.
Sound off: Will you consider mentoring a fatherless boy?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Why is it important to think about the needs of others?”