“You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.” Redefining Success
In the movie Princess Bride, every time the Dread Pirate Roberts overcomes an obstacle that he set up, Vinzini screams, “Inconceivable!” He uses it so much, Indigo Montoya finally says, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” When it comes to applying our version of what success looks like, we sometimes are as guilty as Vinzini. We have our own ideas of what success should be and it often revolves around our own values, priorities, and earning potential. A college degree, 4.0 grade point average, graduate school, joining the right student organizations, etc., basically everything our culture deems successful. College attendance for high school graduates has become the goal of every administrator. While it takes an education or a certification to have a stable future in our economy, mentors must keep an open mind about what success will look like for their young dad, giving full consideration to who he is and how God has wired him.
Getting to know your mentee will allow you to help them get on a path to success that represents who they are. Some of you are mentoring incredibly smart young men who have high hopes and lofty aspirations. However, some of you are mentoring young men who think their $10 an hour job is their dream job and they are set for life. Both young men should be encouraged to pursue a livable wage so they can adequately support their child. Some will be encouraged toward college and navigating life there to become independent and have a career. Some will be encouraged toward trade school because they are good with their hands and not so good at sitting still in a classroom. Whatever the case, we have to make sure our perception of success is based in principle and not in what we would consider for ourselves. Our goal with 365 Dad is to let these young men see Jesus in your lives and to put them in a position to achieve a career that will provide them with the opportunity to participate in their child's life and provide for them long term. A career job removes financial obstacles that allow them to focus on aspects of life beyond survival. Loving our neighbor as ourselves drives us to lead them in a direction that allows them to provide for themselves. As we do this, we must realize both a college degree and trade school are viable options that should be considered based on who your young dad is and what he is like. If they choose a four year degree, you should pull no punches about how hard it will be to be a dad and a college student, but you should encourage them down that path if they want it.
The particular path each person pursues is dependent on how God uniquely designed them. As their mentor, realize that their past can have some impact on their perception of what success is and whether they can achieve it. They will need encouragement, a healthy dose of reality (you’re not going to be a rap producer and it takes a degree from a major university to become a sports journalist), and most of all, see a belief in you that they can do it. Knowing when to encourage, when to give a dose of reality, a loving kick in the pants, and what direction to point them in takes discernment.
It’s important at this point to remember our scripture for the week:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration. 9 “For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. - Isaiah 55:8-9
The Lord has a plan and a purpose for each one of us. Those plans may be very different from those He has for you and I. Knowing your young dad well and seeking God daily for wisdom and discernment will provide you with the foundation for him to be truly successful by becoming all that God wants him to be.