Since I’m an undisciplined person by nature, I need exert extra effort to conquer certain fundamental tasks such as fitness, proper nutrition, and even daily flossing. (I now practice all three daily, but it took me many cavities and many weight fluctuations to come to the point where I perform these disciplines as a matter of non-negotiable, second-nature, daily routine.) In fact, I’m developing a list of about 10 categories of personal disciplines–but more on that later. My point is that some disciplines are easily quantifiable (e.g., running mileage, minutes of music practice), while others are much harder to define or measure (e.g., time invested in a marriage or in a child). It is the general area of mentorship to which I feel called to step up my personal discipline efforts.
Give or take, I have 28 nieces & nephews, a grand-nephew, and 150 Jugheads, plus friends’ kids and young adults (including 39 Jughead grads) whom I know on various levels of trust and intimacy. To be blunt, Wendy & I feel like we could easily make a full-time job out of loving various people in our lives who have needs ranging from simple encouragement to survival skills. While Wendy & I were investing time with an 18-year-old family friend this fall, I quipped to the young lady that I have to make a conscious choice to spend time even in casual conversations, lest I allow my personal disciplines (and need for down time) to unduly dominate my schedule. In other words, whether socializing with my relatives or going out of my way for an adolescent or young adult, I need to discipline myself to make mentorship a habit.
One prayer of late is that as I endeavor to mentor others (esp. Jughead leaders and other assorted 15-25 year-olds, as they are open to it), they will in turn be fruitful in their own efforts to pass mentorship along to others. Mentorship is not always convenient, but what a harvest of peace and righteousness is yielded when we invest our time, talents, and treasures in people rather than only in self-focused pursuits! I don’t aim to give up on my seemingly “self-centered” disciplines, but I’ll multiply my disciplines by increasing my bold & deliberate mentorship of others–with hopes that a little investment will go a long way.