The Key to understanding Mandela is those 27 years in prison. The man who walked onto Robben Island in 1964 was emotional, headstrong, easily stung. The man who emerged was balanced and disciplined. I often asked him how the man who emerged from prison differed from the willful young man who had entered it. He hated this question. Finally, in exasperation one day, he said, “I came out mature.”
Richard Stengel – Managing Editor, Time Magazine
The life and profound leadership of Nelson Mandela has been a huge inspiration to me. His personal discipline, his principled behavior, his refusal to embrace hatred and revenge and his profound leadership have all challenged and motivated my life. Although a US citizen, I was raised in South Africa and was in the country right before the elections that transitioned power from a white apartheid government to Mandela and the ANC. How Mandela navigated the nation peacefully through that transition is still a wonder to the world. South Africa could so easily at that time have gone the way of genocide like Rwanda and Burundi.
Mandela’s ability to bring the extremely polarized peoples of the nation together using the 1995 Rugby World Cup have been immortalized in Clint Eastwood’s masterful movie Invictus. Richard Stengel followed Mandela for more than a year working on a brilliant biography about his life. When he wrote an amazing article in Time Magazine about Mandela, the above quote jumped out at me. I had already chosen the title for my new book “Mentoring to Maturity.” Mandela epitomizes to me the fruit of a life that has come to maturity in so many areas.
In the many blogs that will hopefully follow, I want to examine the lost art of mentoring people to maturity. I want to identify the principles that under gird mentoring and to examine the practical elements or ingredients that will help people to more effectively mentor others. The goal of mentoring is to mold into the lives of people true godly character and to set individuals on a pathway to fulfilling their life’s mission.
We need to develop a generation of people who are full of conviction but not legalistic, bold but not brash, strong but yet gentle. We need multifaceted individuals who are cognizant of their callings, full of vision and purpose, able to articulate their faith and ideas while understanding and respecting the positions and perspectives of others. We need those who can intelligently express their intellect and their emotions and whose lives reflect the genuine fruit of God without hypocrisy or double mindedness.
We will examine many of these areas more fully in future blogs. Please subscribe at the blue button on the top right if you want to be notified of future postings. Please also take advantage of the free YouthBytes DVD download and viewable pieces that teach mentoring using the sport of snowboarding.