“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.”