My name is Joe and I’m a recovering perfectionist. In middle school I played the trumpet. Before starting band class in sixth grade I had never had any formal music lessons. I practiced diligently and quickly become one of the better trumpet players in my class. By the end of the eighth grade I had participated in honor bands and jazz bands.
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However, my playing technique had a minor flaw that made it difficult to play high notes, which became more of an issue as songs became more complex and included higher notes. I also got braces, which made it even more difficult to play.
I am grateful when I think of the constellation of men from my past who have made an impact on me: My sixth grade Sunday school teacher Kyle, who loved me during an awkward phase of life. My high school baseball coach Don, who called out skills in me I had never been aware of. My youth pastor Sean, who walked with me through ridiculously dramatic relationship issues in high school. My dad, who has always been a servant-hearted husband and father.
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The list goes on and on. I’m sure certain people come to mind for you, too, regardless of your gender. We certainly have all benefitted from mentors of the opposite-gender, but from my experience the most formative mentoring relationships come from men being mentored by men and women being mentored by women.