WHAT IS A MENTOR?
Have you ever had someone come into your life at a time when you needed them the most? If you have, then you know how important this type of person can be for your development. They could be a teacher, a coach, a friend, or really anyone who has helped you grow. These types of people can also be called, MENTORS.
A mentor is someone who wants to make a positive difference in a young persons life. They provide friendship, support, and wisdom in hopes of building up the confidence in the person they’re mentoring.
These types of people are rare but they are out there. If you’ve been blessed to have a person like this in your life, let them know how much you appreciate them.
Like I’ve mentioned before, I’ve had some amazing family members and close friends who were mentors for me as a young boy and had a huge influence in my development as a man. These were people who loved me, cared for me, and who made sure I knew right from wrong.
WHO IS COACH MURDOCK?
Other than my family and friends, the first person that comes to my mind was my High School basketball coach, Coach Murdock. Coach Murdock was an African American man in his mid 40’s. I’ll never forget the first time I met him: He came walking into the gym with a limp in his step and he said, “uhh hello fellas, I’m Marchie, but you can call me Coach Murdock.”
He then told us a little bit about himself. He was a member of the NAVY, ex basketball star, and a family man. He loved his family. He used to talk about the Love he had for his wife and just by listening to what he had to say about her, you knew he was telling the truth. He also would bring his son, who at the time was about 10 years old, to every practice and to every game so he could learn from the older guys. I would watch their interaction during our practices and it really made me appreciate him not only as a coach, but as a father. It was something that I always wanted growing up, so to see his relationship with his son, was really cool.
What I loved most about Coach was his sense of humor. Man, he was funny! He would crack jokes about each one of us and we would all laugh together. What I didn’t realize then but do now, was that by making us all laugh, he brought us so much joy, which helped us to bring our guards down and really begin to trust him as our coach, as well as a type of father figure.
Why Trust is important in Mentoring.
In more ways than one, Coach Murdock really helped us understand the importance of Trust. He told us that basketball is a team sport, and in order to play as a team and win as a team, we have to trust each other. He would say, “You gotta make a commitment and trust that each one of you are doing your job and doing what you’re supposed to do, on AND off the court. Because if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do, then you’re letting your team down. And as your coach, that commitment starts with me.” He made sure we knew that even though he was the Coach and the head of our team, he had a commitment to the team just like we did. And the way he stayed true to that commitment is what inspired all of us to do the same.
Trust is so important when you’re building relationships, especially with young men. They need to know that you care about them and that you aren’t just there for a paycheck or because you HAVE to be there. We didn’t trust Coach because of the words he said, we trusted him because of his actions. We trusted Coach because we knew he cared for us, as a basketball team and as individuals. We trusted him because every day he gave us his heart, which then gave us permission as young men and as ball players, to give him ours. And that’s what we did every single day and that’s a BIG reason why we were so successful.
Use What You Were Taught to Teach Someone Else
Because I was fortunate enough to have that experience, I know firsthand how important a Mentor can be. The teenage years can be a real tricky time. Especially if the father isn’t around, which can cause a young person to rebel and resort to drugs, alcohol, or violence. I remember being very angry during my high school years when I didn’t have the relationship with my father that other kids had with theirs. It was a really confusing time and I made a lot of mistakes to try and cope with what I was going through.
A friend recently sent me a picture with a quote that said, “Be who you needed when you were younger.” When I read it, I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear.
We all needed someone when we were younger. That someone could be a mentor, a coach, a friend, or even just someone to talk to. What I’ve learned in my 28 years of life is that sometimes we overcome and learn from hardships, which not only builds our character, but also prepares us for our Purpose.
I just want to remind you that your life and everything you’ve been through is no accident. What you struggled with or what you needed as a child – is exactly what you can be for someone else. I needed someone who could help me develop into a man and that’s exactly what Coach did. He showed up day after day and he helped me. Now because I know how important his mentorship was for me, I’ve dedicated my life to doing the same for young men going through similar experiences. And hopefully by showing up, sticking to my commitments, and pouring my heart out like coach did, the young men I mentor will remember me being there and what I taught them and then grow up and do the same for another young boy.
– CALL TO ACTION –
I’m thankful for men like Coach Murdock. With my own father in prison and not able to be in my life, I was angry and I was hurt. It was hard for me to trust anyone. But because of Coach Murdock and the man that he was, he taught me to trust again. He taught me the importance of working hard, staying true to my commitments, and most importantly, he taught me the importance of SHOWING UP. Without his guidance and teachings, I can honestly say I would not be the man I am today.
I hope this story inspires you or at least really makes you think of the impact you can have on a young boy. Do you know how many kids pray for a mentor or someone older to help them get better at whatever it is they dream of doing? Do you know how many kids get cut from the basketball team, football team, or baseball team year after year whose only wish is for someone to train them and help them get better so hopefully one day they can make it? These opportunities are all around us! Sometimes all it takes is for us to be more aware and realize the difference you can make. I urge you to please pick up your phone and find ways to mentor a young boy.
Someone out there needs you man.
Be a #Gentleman. Be a #Mentor. Be the #Difference.