One-on-One Makes a Difference — Part 5

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One-on-One Makes a Difference — Part 5

Posted on 22 Feb 2024

By Yap Kim Meng,
Former National Director and Senior Mentor of The Navigators Singapore


(Click here for Part 4)

Mentoring and Man 

Social Pecking Order

Most men shy away from opening their lives to one another, which may seem strange, considering how we enjoy meeting people and creating commotions during get-togethers.
But once past the social courtesies, it becomes a case of peacocks displaying their plumage, i.e. a social pecking order emerges. Calling cards are pulled out and disseminated with company names, positions held and other credentials quickly examined and mentally stored, along with a swift assessment of the other party’s ranking—higher or lower than mine?
In the brief conversation that follows, the physical assets and standing of the other party are exceptionally sifted out—kind of car driven, housing location, financial standing, academic qualifications, etc.
Do men boast to one another? Absolutely!
Do men open their hearts to one another? Hardly!

Stand Alone and Die in a Pile

The depiction of the lone cowboy smoking his cigarette in the "Marlboro Man" has influenced many men to bear their burdens alone. Rarely do they share how they are feeling, the struggles they are facing, the overwhelming sense of loss, or their difficulty in facing challenging odds. This creates an image of a boy sticking his finger in a hole in a dam, hoping to stop the leak and solve the problem immediately.
It's no wonder men are falling apart while trying to hold all these pressures together by themselves.

Men need to be encouraged, affirmed and listened to. They do not have to solve these issues on their own! Perhaps this mindset stems from the makeup of men where they have been conditioned to believe that they are smarter, tougher and required to be self-reliant.

Helping them recognise their Creator and respond to the love of their Saviour, who paid the price for sins on the cross, is the first step. Subsequently, helping them open up and share their lives with others—such as their spouses, close friends, etc.—is important.
Eventually, they should seek out “mentors” or “confidants” who would listen and accept them, be encouraging and affirming, without seeking to change them.

Seek Out Mentors to Share

There is a great need for men who can engage in meaningful conversations, listen attentively, genuinely share their fears and feelings, help other men recognize their need for God, and affirm their dependence on Him alongside like-minded individuals. Who are these men, and where can they be found? 

First, recognise that no perfect mentors are waiting to respond to your call.

Everyone has flaws and is prone to making mistakes. However, we believe that God can bring people together, so we would urge you to pray, "Lord, bring someone across my path whose heart I can resonate with, who will love and accept me, and who can hold me accountable to you." There may also be circumstances described as "open windows/doors" given briefly by the Lord, so make sure you seize them.

Second, we need to develop a learner’s heart.

Detecting such opportunities requires a major paradigm shift. If we intend to spend time with someone else, we need to be willing to fit into their busy schedules, rather than expecting them to accommodate us. While we might imagine two people chatting or conversing over coffee at a set time, the reality is that people worth talking to will also be highly sought after by others. Much of life is spent waiting or travelling.

For example, you might ask, "Can I drive you to your next destination? Can I travel with you on your way home by MRT (Mass Rapid Transport), bus, or taxi? (Then I would make my way back). Can I send you to the airport and wait with you until your flight is due? (Better still, can I travel with you on that flight?)"

Third, we need to learn to ask questions and pick the minds of others.
The fear of sounding stupid or irrelevant prevents us from doing so. However, between two people, our fears are unfounded as there are no third parties to compare with. Construct a list of questions and ask them. Even if the answers are unexpected, at least you have received a different opinion. Asking the same questions to different people gives us a diversity of answers and a rich pool of resources.

Short Term Mentors vs Lifelong Mentors

Sustaining a long-term relationship with mentors can be challenging; some may move away, others become difficult to contact, and some may even pass away.

Start a Legacy — Begin Mentoring 

From my brief survey on "Mentoring," many people expressed a desire to have such an experience, as they have not had it. Instead of dwelling on that, why not start a legacy by becoming a mentor yourself?
Ask the Lord to bring someone into your life whom you can invest time and care in, helping them to grow and mature. You will be amazed as they, having received your guidance, are then willing to do the same for others.
This way, a legacy is born.

How Do You Begin? 

Ask the Lord to bring people into your life.
When a colleague or friend confides in you, saying, "Boy, do I have a huge problem," it's a big indicator.
Are you willing to listen to them and give them your undivided attention? Are you willing to suggest praying for them after listening to their concerns? Would you be brave enough to propose meeting again soon to pray and discuss the matter in light of the Bible?
(You can then seek help from your mentor or people you know who understand what the Bible has to say about the matter.)
With that, you have started mentoring!

Whether the mentorship lasts for a moment or longer, practising it puts you in good standing. Before you know it, there will be people who want to meet with you after hearing of your reputation or through your skilled practice (which you will pick up after a few tries). 

There is deep satisfaction in helping others. The Lord will enable you through the help of the Holy Spirit and equip you through His Word.

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
— 2 Timothy 3:16-17 


There are two kinds of people—those who complain that they have not been mentored and those who see its value and start mentoring others, even with minimal experience. 

Experience is acquired once you begin practising.

Save The Extinction of a Dying Species

There is a dying breed that is fading away, much like the dinosaurs did. It is the species of good and faithful men.
The Bible laments, "a faithful man is hard to find."
Men of character are a rare find and do not appear overnight; it requires cultivation. Just as a breed of horses from a royal pedigree would live up to its lineage, so too do men of character.

Men who will prove exceptional are those who have refined character and are mentored by others willing to acknowledge their weaknesses. They will develop into quality individuals. We need to protect this rare breed of men from extinction.
Mentoring can revive this dying breed and perpetuate it for generations to come. If only they recognised its value, they would want to replicate it in the lives of others.

Sanctity and Setting Apart Our Best for the Lord

When we consecrate ourselves to dedicate our lives to the Lord, it means we want to honour Him with our best. Man's way of honouring God is by deciding which areas of life are worth sanctifying for the Lord.
In the Old Testament, a tribe known as the Levites was set apart to represent the rest of the people and exclusively dedicated to the rituals. They wholeheartedly dedicated themselves, their lives, their entire tribe, families, men, and children for the sole purpose of worshipping God. If that is necessary, only the best will do, to be set aside for that purpose.

Mentoring is an important key to helping individuals remain true to their integrity. Staying true to our consciences helps us to stay focused.
We need to engage in mentoring to ensure we maintain a clear conscience towards God and others.