Is there a Grandfather in the House? – Part 3
What would it be like to be mentored by a Grandfather?
A question for young men: Have you thought about the advantages of being mentored by a grandfather? I realize that there are some cynics who put grandfathers in the category of “old” and therefore not relevant to this generation. It has been said that one of the characteristics of the 21st century is that “old” is out and “young” is in. Here is another famous quote, “Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it.” Let me remind you that an apprenticeship, studying with one of the greats, gives you a valuable advantage.
Some characteristics of those who mentor is that they have “fought a good fight” and have already run a long race. They are at a place in their reality that they want to tell someone what they have learned, so they can pass on the “oral history” and personal lessons. They have mellowed a bit and no longer want to fight, as their testosterone has diminished and their appetite for war has taken leave. You will find they are happy to impart whatever wisdom they have, and all for free. They are complimented when a young hungry soul wants to listen to what they have to give. Grandfathers have lived a very long time and have built a network of friendships, and have the gift of alerting you to pitfalls and potholes you will surely face along the way. They have no agenda, as they have been purified by the refiner’s fire throughout the years. Often mentors are “idea men”, and also “door openers”. They can make a call, or an introduction that would, otherwise, take years to accomplish.
Society is evolving and growing different appetites. It is becoming passionate about new issues. The young people and the younger families are managing societal change so much they feel that managing change is the primary task of the 21st century. They see the future through a different lens. One good example is how they’d decorate the church. Another issue is what songs they would select and the instruments they’d use. This is only the beginning of what changes they feel are needed. These adjustments are inevitable. They will happen. The beauty of having a grandfather around is that there will remain some degree of balance, accompanying the element of risk, which stokes the fire of these younger leaders.
Young leaders are not often intimidated. Technology, the dark cloud of politics and new legal requirements do not put them off. Young leaders feel they were made for these times, and grandfathers using wisdom can enforce that strength. Thinking “outside the box” is a gift many of the young leaders possess. Sometimes the sentiment of the older generation is that, “Just as I came up with the answers, they changed the questions.” The clarion call of the younger is “bring it on and we’ll see just how we can face challenges and still grow the church.”
A young man needs to have an older man in his life. He needs him as a father, mentor, counselor, sounding board, and one to whom he can become accountable. I have had minor mentors who gave me valuable deposits and distinctive life altering influence. I have had six “major mentors”, or fathers in the Lord, who became men of significance to me. They were pillars and they gave me perspectives of wisdom unique to any others. I spent significant amounts of time with each of them and remain grateful for their interest in me. They were not perfect, or all wise, but they were accomplished in their fields, respected within their communities and loved me enough to take time to invest in the man they hoped I would become.
Young men are often full of inquisitive desire to try new things. They are full of courage, faith, and a longing to see what their creative juices could produce. They are at the most productive time of their lives and zeal is not in short supply.
Not for the faint of heart, consider this: In the book, “The Fourth Turning”, Neil Howe and William Strauss made some interesting conclusions, which you may find enlightening. “Looking back to the dawn of the modern world, The Fourth Turning reveals a distinct pattern in human history, cycles lasting about the length of a long human life. Each cycle is composed of four ‘turnings’, and each turning lasts the span of a generation (about 20 years). There are four kinds of turnings (High, Awakening, Unraveling, Crisis), and they always occur in the same order.” As the authors made these conclusions, I find it interesting that this younger generation just may prove to be more conservative than even their grandparents. We’re not talking politics here, but “ideals of life” and the values, which prove to be significant in the days ahead. I have faith in this younger generation. They just may have the goods to deal with the controversy, the terror of evil in high places and in the streets, and all with a strong grasp of what is necessary to help Jesus “build His church”.
A word to the wise, younger man, it is best you come to your mentor, rather than to expect him to run after you. Remember, he doesn’t do well as a “runner”, and you’re the one who will benefit most by the input of someone to speak into your life. Today you may not see all the value of his wit and wisdom, but the day will come when he is gone and you will be grateful for what you learned from him and will find yourself quoting him frequently.
 A variation of a quote from George Santayana (1863-1952)
 II Timothy 4:7 Paul speaking to, Timothy, his son in the Gospel
 The Joseph Story, by Ron A. Bishop, ã2010. Dedicated to these men.
 The Fourth Turning, by Howe & Strausse, ã1997. ISBN: 978-0-767900-46-1
 Matthew 16:18 KJV “Upon this Rock, I will build my church.”
Christina Reed Bishop says
Really enjoyed reading Part 3 just now.
Wade Thompson says
Very insightful and poignant , thanks for the input on mentoring and the book reference..
Wade Thompson says
we need to actively seeking who will help us move to our next level of fruitfulness.. and we older grandfathers need someone we to invest in and keep us accountable for our process of growth.
MAvis & Ray MArtin says
This is so good but afraid we missed parts 1+2. Not sure how we missed them but we have Ops!!!! If you are able to email them or let me know where to find them it would be wonderful. Thank you both so much for your faithful service. Appreciate you both.