Mentors and Disciples

I am really not all that good at anything in particular.  Not like my dad at all.  The phrase, “Jack of all, master of none”, has been proven as a false statement for many years by my dad.  He is absolutely a Jack of all and master of most.  My brother seems to have caught that part of the genes, but not me.  Nope, not me at all.

I am mostly a “hazard to all, barely passing at best” for so many things.  This bothered me for a long time.  I wanted to be good at a lot of things, now I just enjoy being merely average or even a bit below average but acceptable in the myriad of things to which I put my  mind and hands.

If there is one thing that I think I do a pretty good job with, it is influencing and coaching people.

Not so much coaching T-Ballers.  Coaching people in their day to day lives.

The Navy has made it clear that it desires a vibrant, functioning mentorship program within its ranks.  The trouble is that the program seems to be a management burden placed on already heavily burdened leaders.  The program does not seem to be so active.  This is really sad to me.

Businesses use the terms Mentor and Mentorship.  The Church uses the terms Disciple and Discipleship.  I hear folks in the Church getting their panties in a wad when they hear the words Mentor or Mentorship being used in the context of Christianity.  This really saddens me also.

I will write a handful of posts about Mentoring and Discipling.  I am no expert at it and I do not make any claims to that.  I have been doing this for a little while now and have seen some really great things from it, both in the Navy and in the Church.  I have also made some mistakes that have been absolutely devastating to me and those around me… I will write about those too.

A lot of the concepts and ideas that I will talk about apply to more than one facet of our lives.  Most of these things can be used in our workplaces as well as in our homes and in our places of ministry or service.  If you do not share the spiritual beliefs that I hold, please do not dismiss my opinions regarding mentorship and influential leadership.  That said…


What is Mentorship?

To best grasp this concept, lets look at where we get the word “Mentor.”  I will tell this story in a super boiled down version…

In Homer’s Odyssey, King Odysseus is leaving for war.  He has a son who will one day replace him as king, but his son is still young and needs to be taught, trained, honed into being kingship material.  Odysseus goes to a trusted friend of his and asks him to raise his son as though his son belonged to him.  As far as I can tell, Odysseus trusted that his son would be a wise king, with the knowledge and the character to reign well, because he would have been raised by his friend who possessed these desired leadership traits and characteristics.  Odysseus must have hoped that, when he returned from his war, that his son would sound and act like his friend, value what his friend valued, be passionate about the things his friend was passionate for, essentially being a “chip off the old block” with his friend being the block off of which the son would be “chipped.”  This friend’s name was Mentor.

Let that sink in for a minute if you have never heard the story before.  Mentor…  a character in a story in which his primary role was to raise another man’s son so that the son could one day lead well.  Mentor… a trusted man who was tasked with replicating his character, his ethos, his very essence in a boy so that the boy would one day be able to lead his people.  Mentor… a man who was chosen to model the values of a kingdom and led his life in a deliberate manor to ensure these values were understood and received.

I really do not understand why some church folk get upset when they hear the word Mentor when talking about one more seasoned and mature Christian helping to develop a less mature Christian… seems like a pretty fitting title to me.

The role of the Mentor is to replicate his life, or an aspect of his life, in somebody else.

In the posts to follow I hope to answer questions like, What is a disciple… What is Discipleship?  Why is mentoring/discipling important?  How to pick a mentor… What does a discipling relationship look like?

Have you ever been mentored or discipled?  How did that relationship start?  Did you know you were being developed for a purpose in the beginning?  Have you ever discipled anybody else?

If you have questions about this topic or simply want my perspective on some of the things that go along with Mentorship and Discipleship, feel free to ask them in the comments.  I will either answer them in the comments or incorporate those things in the posts to follow.




To Evict or Not To Evict

In case you didn’t know, I bought a house years ago when I was stationed in North Carolina.  My plan was to bounce back and forth between the Marine Corps and local Navy shore commands for the rest of my career.

God and the Navy had other plans.

So now I am a landlord and have been for a few years now.  We have had some really good renters and some not so good renters.  We had one set of renters who trashed our house before leaving.  When I heard about that, I asked what recourse I had.  The answer…

We will annotate it on his credit report.

My heart sank.  I thought all was lost.  This clown trashes my house, leaves me with the bill, moves out, and all I can do is have a mark put against his credit.  About 4 months after this happened, I got a call from my property management office.  They said the guy called from Afghanistan and wanted to know what he needed to do to get this off of his credit history.  Apparently he was not able to find a place for his family to live since he moved out of my house.  His wife and kids had been couch surfing the whole time.  He got deployed and discovered that the reason his applications had been denied for housing was because another property management company put a black mark on his name.  The system worked.  He paid what we asked and we had the property management company take their mark off of his credit.

Last month our renter was almost 25 days late on his rent.  He paid, but man was it late.  I found out today that he is not able to pay his rent this month.  Bummer.

I met this guy when I was driving across North Carolina.  He was so thankful that he had a place to live.  He gave me a long tale about the rough cards he had been dealt and was excited to finally have a place that was safe for him and his family so that he could put the pieces of his life back together.  I felt as though I was helping to provide for his family.

I have found myself praying for this guy.  I pray that my house would be a safe place for him and his family, that it would be a blessing in his life as he recovers from his past.

Now I find myself in a position where I will not be receiving any rent.  My property management company contacted me to let me know how much it would cost to file the eviction papers.

I cannot afford my mortgage without getting his rent money (I am not asking for money here… yet… LOL), but I also don’t want to put him out on the curb yet.  According to my management company, he has said he has the ability to pay for all fees and missed rent at the beginning of next month.

I decided to not file eviction paperwork.  I know… I know…  Emotions and Business don’t always go well together.  I might end up regretting it, then again, I might not.

If he does not pay his rent at the agreed upon time next month, then I will file the paperwork.

What would you have done?


Just a Busy Life

I set the tone for this blog as one in which I just talk about random stuff, as though you are sitting next to me in the cockpit of a small airplane as we fly across some unknown mountainous jungle.  All of a sudden I get all serious, start focusing on flying because the weather got rough and completely forgot about you!  I am so sorry…

I actually did not forget about y’all!  I have wanted to get on and post for a while.  I feel this pressure that says I need to post something long.  I do not have time to write anything long, so I don’t write.

But I miss writing.  I did not expect to miss it, but I do.

I am now about 4 months into my training.  I am going to school in Groton CT to become a US Navy Submarine Independent Duty Corpsman.  School is intense.  I usually leave my house around 0615 and return between 1830 and 1930 each evening.  I spend more time in my classroom than I do in my own house.  I see the men in my class WAY more than I see my own wife and kids.

We receive instruction in the traditional Navy manner from 0700 to 1530 with a 2 hour break for lunch and PT.  By “traditional Navy manner” I mean in the same way that you would take a drink from a fire hose.  We have covered the entire Radiation Health program, Preventive Medicine, NAVOSH (think Navy OSHA), Medical Department Admin, Supply, Medical Department Maintenance, and Intro to Lab.  Rumor is we start Anatomy and Physiology next week… we cover it in 2 days!  They say they can turn me into a competent Lone Medical Provider on one of the great hunters of the deep in a short 14 months…  Next time I come up for air, I’ll let you know!

While participating in normal classroom activities during the day, I have an instructor assigned to me as a Mentor who answers my questions and gives me tasks.  He pretends to be my CO, XO, COB…  he pretents to be everybody of importance in my world as a Submarine IDC.  I have a handful of medical records for my crew (all make believe of course), and I have to operate as though I am currently serving in an IDC capacity while going through school.  My mentor assigns tasks that must be completed.  In case there are any future SubIDCs reading this, I will not be divulging the secrets from behind the curtain, but you can guess at the details.  By the time the course is finished, I will be doing water testing, galley inspections, all medical reporting for accidents and injuries, gas free (making sure the air in a space is safe to breathe), sick call, narcotics inspections, and so on and so on… all while sitting in class from 0700 to 1530.  That 2 hour break I mentioned earlier for lunch and PT turns into about 45 minutes for PT, eat at my desk while doing paperwork, and then brace for the afternoon lectures.

We took 3 tests last week.  We were scheduled for 4 this week, but 1 got pushed to next week…  Intense.


And I am enjoying it so much.  I know I know, I must be a glutton for punishment.  I do miss seeing my family and spending time at home, don’t get me wrong, but I really REALLY love the challenge… the game… the stress.  They say they set this school up in order to simulate the lifestyle of a SubIDC as much as possible so that we are not shell shocked when we hit the fleet.  I can only hope so!


Anyway… School is going well.


I will post shorter posts in order to keep in touch.

I also recognize that, if this is how life will be for me for the next 5 or 6 years, and I have a desire to communicate with and influence people, then I had better figure out how to balance these things in my life!

Wish me luck!