Monday, May 6, 2013

Three people you need in your life

I learned this from Bishop Sam Drye, or possibly his wife Rheba. They have both heavily invested time and wisdom into my family. Either way, that sets the stage.
They taught me about three kinds of people we need to have in our lives. Friends, mentors and protégés. I guess a lot of us are content with just the friends, not so much with the others. But we need all three. They would qualify as mentors. People who have lived longer, learned more, done things I haven't, made more mistakes, found what works and what doesn't. The most successful people in the world will all, without exception, admit to having a mentor of some type. Coaches, pastors, teachers, parents, supervisors and writers are all types of mentors. Mentors are just people who care enough to offer us advice that can make our life better. Sometime simple stuff, sometimes serious stuff. I have compared some advice from a mentor to being handed a map of a minefield I must cross. Thankful for the map, respectful of what it took to make that map. 
Friends is self explanatory. Those people who post the goofy videos on Facebook for you. The guys who you MUST have a beer with. The girls you MUST take shopping with you. The ones who really know you well enough to pick on you about stupid stuff. The ones honest enough to laugh at you when you dress like an idiot. The ones who will rush to your side when you fall, then laugh out loud and post the video. Good friends. Ones we can totally be ourselves with. We listen to their crap, they listen to ours. Our wives need those friends more than most guys understand. I didn't. Part of my abusiveness was interfering with my wife's friendships. One specifically. One of her closest friends caused the turning point in me. She chewed me out so bad one night, I went speechless. She ripped into me like a shark. She told me how my wife really felt and why I was such a jackass. A light came on. I heard that. She absolutely did not believe me when my only response was, "ok, I get it. Thank you for explaining all that." But she opened my eyes to why my wife wanted out. My wife needs friends like that. Someone who loves her enough to attack a guy 3 times her size. Your does, too. Shut up and leave her friends alone. 
Protégés. That's a big word for a Georgia boy, but it's the only one that seems to work. These are the people we pour our lives into because we care about them. The guy you "coach" from the car window about how he needs driving lessons doesn't count. Your kids count. Sometimes, their friends count. The people who work under you or even with you can count. Anyone who you care about and you treat with respect and compassion can count. Bullies, tyrants, control freaks and general jackasses don't have protégés, they have subjects or victims. People who are just stuck with them. If you, like I was, qualify as one of them.... Your teaching and training are not being received. You are being tolerated. Don't be a jerk to your kid, then get mad when they defied you or ignored you. Seriously. Would you accept coaching from someone like you? Change the attitude. Offer advice. Don't cram it down their throat. Don't beat them up with how smart you are and how stupid they are. ( Humility, old post, read that one ) Do everything with compassion, keeping in mind you want to HELP. 
At the moment, I do have all three in my life. The list changes from year to year, I guess that's pretty normal. Some will always be on it, some serve their time and move on. Go easy on the protégés, you won't know for years whether they listened or if your advice was good. Be humble, consider your advice carefully before dumping it on them. Go easy on the mentors, they are trying to help. They don't know everything. They aren't responsible for your happiness or intelligence for following direction. They are also not responsible for your attitude. They don't owe you. They are friends with more wisdom who want to see you do well. The friends, do what you do. Enjoy them, laugh at them, protect them or whatever you do. Forget the drama, be a friend, have a friend. 
That's all I've got to say about that. 

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