Fresno Unified hosted a mentoring matters workshop in December. More than 100 men showed up to learn how they can use their 1 1/2 minutes to change the life of a kid. It was an encouraging sight to see. I hope to see more in the future. An army of mentors will easily defeat the enemy called hopelessness. Let me tell you why this was so encouraging to me.
I'm the president of a wealth management firm. I'm currently building two businesses from the ground up. I serve on the board of a large non-profit, an advisory board at Fresno State, regularly volunteer for five other organizations, serve at church, and travel the country leading men on hikes to help challenge them mentally, spiritually, and physically. Oh, did I mention that I'm a married father of three, with a grandchild and another on the way?
I'm not telling you all of this to brag. I share this to say I understand what it means to be busy. Busy is a badge that many wear proudly as a sign of accomplishment. Ask people a question like, "How was your week?" The initial response will be some variation of busy busy busy.
Unfortunately, beneath that shiny brass, you'll find an infectious disease that's eroding away at the fabric of our society. Many have become too busy to care for the important things, like the youth of our city. In every zip code, children are navigating life on their own without mentors caring for their future. They haven't experienced someone grabbing them by the shoulder and pointing them in the right direction.
As stewards of our city, we have an obligation to do our part to shape the direction of our city kids. I wish it was as easy as it is in the movies, where we can just plug them into a machine and download everything they need to know. Unfortunately that's not the way it works. They need to be taught by example. I've come to realize that all they will know is what we show...and what they see is ultimately what they will be. This is where mentoring comes in. As a mentor, we are telling our youth that "we care, you are important." I feel a sense of obligation to mentor, because I am a product of mentoring. Mentoring provides me with a sense of purpose knowing that I am doing my part when I make time for it.
Think about this. If you gave up 10% of your available hours in a year dedicating them to the community, it would look something like this: 876 hours a year, 73 hours a month, 16.84 hours a week, 2.4 hours a day, and six minutes an hour. And of that community time, if you devoted 25% to mentoring specifically, that's 1 1/2 minutes an hour.