After the unexpected detours that Donna and I have experienced over these past three months, we’re ready to complete our article on avoiding barriers.
In the May issue of Fingerprint, we talked about the situational issues that can create barriers to a healthy relationship. In this issue, we’ll look at relational issues. While the former involves our environment or circumstances, the latter has to do with the relationship of people and their interaction with each other. However, whether situational or relational, it’s what we do with each issue that determines whether the affect will be positive or negative.
Here are three brief examples of relational issues. If inappropriately dealt with, any one of them can hinder the health of your mentoring relationships.
1. Dependence – Allowing dependency to form in your mentoring relationship contradicts the purpose of godly mentoring which is to enfold and engage one another in healthy relationships that empower and encourage personal growth and a vibrant relationship with God.
2. Assumptions – When a mentor isn’t as sensitive to a given situation as their mentee thinks they should be, or a mentee becomes hurt or disillusioned when their mentor isn’t available, it’s often because assumptions have been made. Eliminate assumptions and turn the situation into a learning tool that deepens the mentoring relationship rather than drive a wedge into it.
3. Money Matters – Scenarios like co-signing for a mentee, entering into a business venture, or extending a loan to them, are situations where “Beware” signs need to be posted. They can create indebtedness and change the dynamics of a relationship. Instead, use these requests to help your mentee learn to manage finances or refer him or her to someone who can help.
This is a very brief look at the barriers that can damage an otherwise healthy mentoring relationship. While our book, A Mentor’s Fingerprint, covers this subject in more detail, we hope we have given you a glimpse of what to watch for in any formal or informal mentoring relationship..