Duct-Taped Shoes: The Cost of Mentoring

Mentoring a boy or young man who is at risk is arguably one of the most influential and meaningful ways to leave a legacy. However, while mentoring comes at a cost, men who build relationships with and influence others never question whether it is a worthy investment. They know that the return on the investment (ROI) is well worth the cost. 

I was reminded of this the other day when I spoke with a Battalion Captain who has a young man in his unit whose mother is deceased and whose father is not a good role model. In fact, this young man is living with his grandmother. 

Being part of the Battalion unit has greatly impacted this young man’s life and the Battalion Captain is very encouraged to see the young man’s growth. 

They recently attended a regional Camp-O-Rama and the young man showed up with old sneakers that were literally duct-taped together. His mentor, one of the other brigade leaders took note of this and showed up at the next Battalion meeting with 2 new pairs of shoes for this young man.

The Captain related to me that on the drive home following the meeting he mentioned to the young man that it was a kind gesture of the mentor to purchase him a couple of pairs of shoes and that this man was a good mentor.

The young man’s response brought tears to my eyes; “I kind of think of Jim as my other father.” 

Mentoring is costly – but it is worth it. Men who do it well never regret doing it as they see the legacy of changed lives as those boys and young men grow up to be men of God.

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