Mentoring of Younger Fathers

In a previous post we looked at qualities an older man should possess in order to mentor younger men as suggested in Titus 2:2.

Older Men Mentoring Younger Fathers

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After an interlude of a few verses about older women mentoring younger women, it picks up with men again in verse 6 saying, “Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good.”

What’s interesting is that women are to specifically be instructed in regard to their role as mothers and wives but the verse about men does not specify similar teaching for young men of their roles as husbands and fathers.  Perhaps the word “similarly” can encompass these areas.  While both young men and young women need to be taught self-control, Titus 2 adds additional qualities for women.

I would suggest that the reason Paul mentions only self-control for men is that it is such a major issue for young men that the majority of focus in a mentoring relationship needs to be geared toward reigning in their impulses.  If a young man is going to be a good husband and father, he needs to learn qualities that engender self-control.  Men who are not married or who do not have a family are not exempt.  They too need guidance in this area to be godly men.

In keeping with a similar pattern to a post about Mentoring Younger Mothers, however, this post is going to consider qualities younger men need to be good fathers, loving their children as they should.

Faithfulness

One of the best lessons fathers can pass on to their children is that of being a loving husband, faithful to their mother and the marriage relationship.  This requires learning self-control because every marriage will have its trials and temptations.

Affirmation

Men need to communicate worth to both their spouses and children.  Learning to be respectful is one of those qualities children desperately need to learn. Speaking respectfully and treating people with dignity when pushed to one’s limit takes self-control.

Teachable

Fathers, especially young fathers, will not always do things right.  More than a perfect parent, what children need is a father who can admit when he makes a mistake, who asks for forgiveness, and who is willing to learn.  To push through that manly pride takes self-control.

Honesty

A father who is a man of integrity, is a good example for his children.  When children see him lie or cheat, it gives them license to do the same.  To maintain consistency in such a level of honesty takes self-control.

Empathy

Children want parents who understand.  They will accept decisions and discipline they don’t like better when they at least feel understood.  Men don’t tend to be as feelings based or process-oriented.  They tend to want to just move on or fix it. If fathers are going to understand where a child is coming from or simply be there for the child, they need the self-control it takes for them to step back and let go of the need to control the situation.

Reliability

Kids need a father who keeps his promises to them.  When a father gets so busy he doesn’t spend the promised time with his children or misses yet another of the child’s soccer games, plays or concerts, it communicates that the child isn’t worth the father’s time. To always be there when he should is going to take self-control in saying no to other pressing demands of life.

Effectively mentoring young men to attain to the above qualities which require self-control would not only positively affect their own marriages and families but also society.

Read More: Mentoring as a Shepherding Ministry

Mentoring by Older Men

Titus 2 is often used for older women mentoring younger women, as we have looked at in a previous post, but I also see older men mentoring younger men in this passage as well.

Older Men Mentoring Younger Men

Click to enlarge image on Pinterest & repin.
Verse 2 begins, “Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.”

Then in verses 3-5 we have an interlude where it takes us to the mentoring role of older women with younger gals.

Verse 6 gets back to men — “Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good.”

The first word in verse 6, similarly, continues the thought from verse 2.  God is not asking older women to mentor younger men similar to how they teach younger women.  Rather, older men are to mentor “similarly” to the way older women teach younger women.

As we saw in the post, Mentoring by Older Women, mentoring isn’t just about passing on the “how-to” based on their life experiences but rather teaching qualities essential to godliness.  Just as we saw in those verses, similarly, men need to possess the qualities that need to be passed on to younger men.  Guys need an example of what it takes, similarly to how younger women need a model.

If an older man is going to be the kind of example that makes him a good mentor, then he needs to demonstrate the following:

1)  He must be temperate.

Just as older women are to be taught to not be “addicted to much wine,” so older men are to be free from addictions as well.  How will he be an example of self-control, whether that be with alcohol, pornography, or any other kind of vice, if he himself is in bondage?  Mentoring requires time spent with another person.  While an older man might fool acquaintances, it will be difficult to hide the traits that lead to intemperance from those with whom he is closer and spends more time.

2)  He must have earned respect.

For a younger man to be inspired by the life of someone else and want to learn from that person, the person must be “worthy” of that respect. He must have proved himself by being honorable.  This is a man filled with integrity.

3)  He must be self-controlled.

Young men can easily be governed by impulses … sexual and otherwise.  To be taught self-control from someone who has himself learned to control those impulses, will go much further than sermons targeted at young men or books he can read on the subject.

4)  He must be sound in faith, love, and endurance.

If a young man is going to curb his natural desires, it is going to take more than a bunch of do’s and don’ts passed on to him.  He needs the legacy of faith, love, and endurance which will provide a higher motivation to be self-controlled.  He needs a reason to persevere.  A qualification for an older man being a mentor, therefore needs to be that the mentor himself is on solid ground in what he believes and where he places his trust.  He needs to be guided by the pure motivation of agape love.  And, he needs a constancy in this.

Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”  If the mentor is going to truly be able to sharpen the other person, he must have certain qualities … to be made of spiritual iron.

If you have, or want to begin, a mentoring program at your church for men, we must ask the same questions we did for developing a women’s mentoring program.

What criteria should be in a mentor?

Remember, more goes into mentoring than passing on life experiences so don’t make it about merely pairing up men based on who has been through similar life experiences or has similar interests. The mentor, according to Titus 2, should display certain qualities.  Think through how you will know when an older man is ready to be a mentor.

How will you recruit mentors?

Not all older men are qualified to join in such an endeavor.  Think through how you present this opportunity to the older men of your church so you are not in an awkward position of turning some men away.

What training should be required of mentors?

Some older men are already godly or “worthy of respect” so they might not need as much teaching but should still go through training to remind them of what mentoring is all about.  Think through what should be included in that basic plan.

Older men who do not meet the criteria of Titus 2 probably will not drastically change as the result of a few training sessions. Bondages are usually not easily or quickly broken. Think through how you can extend prolonged teaching, perhaps counseling or they themselves being mentored, to help them become more godly.

Read More:  Mentoring as a Shepherding Ministry