Mentors and models

- Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - January 20, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - We all need mentors. We all have models.

Many of us started with mentors who mentor from afar. Many of my distant mentors stay with me in my home library.

I remember the first book that got me hooked into reading – The Quest for Character by Charles Swindoll. Attending a book convention in Colorado one time, I met him in person. I shook his hand and told him how he impacted my life with the book that got me on a lifetime journey of book reading.

And then I discovered audiotapes and CD’s. Zig Ziglar became my hero. Oh how I loved the way he incorporated his humor into his teaching. I was so impressed with his firm commitment to Jesus Christ as he intertwines practical and biblical teaching into his talks and seminars.

And then there are those who mentor us from up close.

These may be pastors, small group leaders, bosses, former bosses, teachers and family members. They mold us, they scold us, they stretch us, they teach us, and they influence us to a great degree. These mentors are responsible for shaping us into the kind of people we are today.

Today’s social media, like Tweeter, blogs and Facebook, can serve as tools for mentoring as well. I make sure I post something positive in my different social media accounts every morning. This is another item in my already-tight regimen of to do’s every day, but there are just thousands of followers waiting, and I cannot let them down.

And then there are people you just observe from afar and emulate.

Here’s what I’ve learned from mentors and models over the years: there are those we admire and highly regard, but once we get up close and personal with them, once we get to know them in a very personal way, and once we transact business with them, we realize that what they teach is not what they practice. I’ve had a mentor who taught me a great deal, but after many years, turned against me and attacked my family.

We need to be careful in choosing our mentors and models. Many of them are packaged well, but are lacking in substance. Others may be gifted, but are lousy in character.

As a mentor, I know that I am no Superman, and that I will fail. I will disappoint as I have my own weaknesses, but to mentor I must. And to be mentored I should.

When men fail us, we may be disappointed, but we must forgive. When we fail others, we must humble ourselves, apologize sincerely and correct our mistakes.

Mentors and models – they shape us, they mold us. Popular speaker Brian Tracy says, “No one lives long enough to learn everything they need to learn starting from scratch. To be successful, we absolutely, positively have to find people who have already paid the price to learn the things that we need to learn to achieve our goals.”

And this is why I put all of my trust in Jesus and why I want to know Him more. He never fails, and He has paid the price.

(Develop your leadership skills and spend two whole days with Francis Kong this Jan. 30-31 at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel, as he facilitates the well-acclaimed Dr. John C. Maxwell Program “Developing The Leader Within You.” For further inquiries, contact Hannah at 09228980196, or call 632-6310912 for details.)

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