We are in an age of ageism where many of the young men I meet today in the church do not know how to relate to older men in ways that honor them and God all at once. The demise of the family, and the absence of strong godly men to lead their children, has left a void in our young men (and women too for that matter) leaving them ill equipped in simple yet significant ways. For those who do cry out for help, wanting to be mentored they can end up sending all the wrong signals
Recently a pastor friend of mine was sharing a much too common experience: Young men reach out to meet with him. He carves time out of his busy schedule and arranges a breakfast. Then the following happens:
- The young man shows up a few minutes late.
- He then proceeds to small talk the pastor to death.
- Finally, after prompting from the pastor as it relates to the whole point why the young man wants to meet, gets around to the purpose, kind of.
- He doesn’t turn his phone off, even answers calls and texts.
- As the pastor is sharing pearls of wisdom in answer to his long belabored question, the young man is not taking any notes.
- Through it all the man is relating to the pastor as if they are peers.
- When the check comes he doesn’t offer to pay, and barely says thank you.
Young man let me help you. If you can make these things a part of your DNA all kinds of doors will be open for you:
1. The older, wiser, more seasoned and experience man that you reached out to, to help, well, you, is not your peer. He’s been somewhere that you have not, and has something that you desire. So treat him with dignity and respect. Don’t call him by his first name until he gives you permission to do so.
2. Because of his status, assume that his time is way more valuable than yours. Therefore don’t waste his time. Show up early. Beat him to the meeting.
3. Bring something to write with. Taking notes sends the message that you value his time and what he has to say.
4. Unless you are taking notes on your phone (and if so let him know you are, so he doesn’t think you’re fooling around), turn the phone off.
5. If you didn’t do so before the meeting, within the first five minutes let him know exactly what you want to talk about, and have well thought out questions prepared to ask.
6. I don’t care how broke you are, your mama may have had to give you bus fare to get to the restaurant, offer to pay for breakfast (and pray he turns you down!). It’s just good manners.
7. Thank him profusely for his time.
8. And if you want to really go the extra mile send him a thank you note when it’s all said and done.