The 5 Danger Signs of Compromise

A mentor is a catalyst for change in a young person’s life.” -Joel Garcia

A person seeks out a mentor for many reasons. In my experience, the most common reason is a person desires change but can’t achieve it alone.  The role of a mentor is to be a catalyst for change in a person’s life. They must first understand the struggles and obstacles in a mentee’s life, which are usually associated with what I call the Danger Signs of Compromise. Therefore, most mentees’ under your care will be going through some “trouble spots” in his or her life.

Once you have acquired a mentee, how do you go about discerning these trouble spots? The following “five danger signs” are examples of my mentoring experiences where I learned these danger signs. A mentor must understand the five “signs” of compromise if the mentoring process is to have some measure of success. A mentor is like a seer who perceives the danger ahead through:

1. Conversation – The first danger sign is evident by listening to a person’s conversation.

People will disclose vital information about their life if you just let them talk. A mentor must listen carefully by picking up on subtleties critical to a mentee’s journey. For example, if a person is disgruntled about their marriage, and speaks openly about it often, then a potential door opens to flirtation, followed by an emotional affair, and eventually consummating an adulterous relationship is highly possible. Adultery doesn’t happen over night; it’s a subtle process. An experienced mentor can perceive the possibility of this taking place.

2. Drifting Eyes – The second method in reading the danger signs is by watching your mentee’s eyes.

The eyes are the window to a person’s soul. A mentor should be look into the eyes of their mentee during every conversation. You can read a lot by watching someone’s eyes. Wandering eyes are a clue to what is steering them inside. A person with loose or wandering eyes has a lust problem and lacks self-control. Eventually, this problem can lead to poor relational boundaries or moral failure; it happened to a friend of mine.

3. Body Language – The third method of detecting a problem is by watching body language.

I learned this method by watching how teenage couples touch each other in public. The more intimate the touch in public the greater the likelihood of having consummated sexual intimacy in private. If they are showing physical demonstrative signs in public, like petting in the lower parts of the body, then how are they acting in private? I have seen this on two separate occasions but I was too late to warn them. A few months after observing these young couples I discovered, in both cases, the young female was pregnant (A lesson I learned the hard way. I won’t make this mistake anymore). Observation requires a degree of discernment to read the non-verbal language of others, and take appropriate action.

4. The Absence of Passion – The fourth sign to watch for is the loss of passion.

Watch for people who can’t find their passion or have lost it. When I teach at our weekly men’s Bible study I am looking around to see who is present and who is missing. This is my duty as a pastor to watch and discern what men are going through. When men lose their passion for righteousness they are not too far off from being consumed by other things.

5. Withdrawing – The fifth danger sign is withdrawing from others.

When you withdraw from others you tend to be vulnerable because you are less accountable and open to attack. God created us to be part of a community and not to live in isolation from others. Proverbs 18:1 (NKJV) reveals:

A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment.”

Those who withdraw from the safety of the group are really sending a message: they are withdrawing from key relationships, accountability, and wise counsel. Deep inside their soul they are devising their own agenda. Unfortunately, it leads them down the wrong path.

As a mentor you must have the courage to speak up when you perceive a potential problem. When you perceive a potential problem, communicate it in a fashion that others will pay attention. You may have to speak about it more than once. If your mentee does not heed your words, write them down and date your journal. If the problem surfaces down the road you will be able to show them that your input was overlooked. Maybe next time they will listen more closely.

Is there another “sign” that leads to compromise?

Provoked to Higher Education

As a young man I remember waking up early on the weekends and summer break to work in the peach fields in the futile crescent of Northern California for my father, who happened to be the field boss for a local fruit packing company. I despised this early morning routine and remember saying to myself, “I never do these kinds of jobs when I grow up!” My parents who would often say to my siblings and I, “If you don’t get your education, you will be doing these jobs all your life” reinforced my exact sentiments. Sure enough, it didn’t take much to motivate me to attend school; numb hands in the winter months and a parched mouth in the summer heat were enough to motivate me to attend college. At least I did not have to wake up to, “Muchachos, es hora – levantensen! Vamonos a trabajar!” (Young men, it’s time – get up! Let’s go to work!). At first, those words bothered me as a young Latino male, but today they inspire me.

College did not come easy for me but I persevered through writing labs and papers, preparing speeches and speaking in front of large classes, and learning to say “no” to my friends in the moment so I could say “hello” to my future. Today, my four brothers, sister and I possess Bachelor’s degrees, while some of us have earned Master’s degrees. I owe a debt of gratitude to my father and mother; the visionary immigrants from Mexico. From this experience, I have some advice to impart to young Latinos – wisdom calls out from many places, are you listening? Don’t stall your education for a few moments of pleasure. Life is too short, then you wake up one day with regret on your mind – “Man, I should’ve gone to college!”

I acquired my Bachelor’s degree 7 years out from graduating from High School. And in May of 2009, I received my Master’s degree from Regent University in Organizational Leadership, with an emphasis in mentoring and coaching. And, as soon as I pay off my student loans, my dream is to attend Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California for my Doctorate.

What’s your story? Are you part of the 12% of Latinos who possess a four year degree?