Contrary to the message of individualism that we sometimes get in American culture, we were designed for relationships. We were designed for relationships with family, friends, and those in our community. Sometimes your family knows you so well they aren’t objective, and your friends might just tell you what you want to hear. Having someone to meet with regularly outside of your closest circle who can speak truth and wisdom into your life is very valuable. That person can become a mentor to you.

Your mentor should be someone who you trust and has life experiences you think you can learn from, and most importantly is willing to listen, give advice, and invest in your life on a regular basis. They will have experiences your friends and family don’t have and are often older than you and further along in some particular aspect of life. They are where you would like to be and the kind of person you would like to be. Mentoring can be specific to a certain area of your life you would like to improve, whether you want to improve your career, your relationships, or your spiritual life. Everyone should have a mentor.

Now imagine someone who could gain from YOUR perspective and life experiences. Are you investing in them or are you only investing in yourself? Healthy communities are created when people both seek help from others to improve their lives and pour out help to others to improve others’ lives. This is why you should be a mentor in addition to being mentored. I personally serve as a spiritual mentor for 7th-grade girls through my church’s youth ministry. Each week, I teach the girls about spiritual topics and meet with them one-on-one to be an encouragement in their young lives. Middle school is hard enough with a stressful schedule of homework and extracurriculars, puberty, gossip and bullying, and figuring out how you fit in. The girls I mentor are also dealing with adverse childhood experiences I never had to face such as divorce, parents in prison or absent, suicide, and self-harm. While I have never gone through those adverse experiences, I can provide positive encouragement and hope each week. I would highly encourage you to findĀ a mentor and be a mentor. It will make your life and the lives of others much richer.