In my life I have found nothing that energizes me more than mentoring. It’s my absolute favorite thing to do in the world. And it may be no surprise that my favorite people to mentor are middle school boys.
It will help if I am up-front about what I mean when I use the term “mentoring.” I see mentoring as the process by which an older or more experienced person guides a younger or more inexperienced person in certain aspects of life.
I feel passionate about mentoring middle school boys for three main reasons:
1. Mentors made a huge impact on my life. When I was in kindergarten I was paired up with a 5th grade student named Tommy who served as my mentor for the school year. I was so pumped whenever I got to be around him. I don’t remember much about him other than that he had a bowl cut, but as 6 year-old I thought he was the coolest guy ever!
From that point on I found myself constantly seeking out older guys who could mentor me or serve as role models. In 6th grade it was my Sunday school teacher Kyle. In 8th grade it was my friend’s dad Al. In 9th grade it was my youth pastor Sean. They helped form who I am today, and mentors continue to have an important role in my life.
I want to return the blessings and favors that all those men have provided me over the years. Mentoring middle school boys is one way I can pay that forward.
2. Middle school students are impressionable. It’s during middle school when kids begin to ask who they are and where they belong in the world.. They develop abstract thinking abilities, take steps toward owning their faith, and make decisions that can affect the rest of their lives. These factors contribute to the formative nature of the middle school years.
Furthermore, middle school students are right in the sweet spot between being kids who are open to new experiences and adults who think at a mature level. It’s a perfect time for adults to step in and have an influence.
3. Mentoring gives me a sense of significance. Like most people, I desperately want to matter. I want to make an impact in the world. Mentoring allows me to feel like I am making a difference in people’s lives by helping them become wiser, more mature, more confident, more attuned to their gifts, or better in some area of life.
The best part is that by mentoring I can leave a legacy that far outlasts my life on this earth. Hopefully my influence on others will eventually lead them to do the same for others who in turn will do it for others, and on and on.
Conclusion: Over the course of the next few posts I will get into specific details about what it looks like to mentor a middle school boy. But hopefully this post reminds you of the importance and value of mentoring middle school boys.
You don’t have to be a youth pastor to be an effective mentor. All it really takes to be a good mentor is a genuine desire to patiently invest your time, gifts, and knowledge into someone else.
Even if you don’t feel called or aren’t in a position to mentor middle school boys, you can at least make sure they are surrounded by influential mentors. Believe it or not, despite (or because of) their energy and craziness it is possible to mentor middle school boys!