Which young person mentors you?
I read a fascinating article this week about reverse mentoring. Big American businesses are pairing up younger mentors with CEOs and other execs and are seeing brilliant things. The execs are grasping technology - twitter, Facebook, phone apps - and implementing better working conditions for employees. Amongst the mentors they're seeing greater retention, greater morale and more of a vision for progressing in the company.
It makes total sense.
"There's an assumption that if you're senior, you have a lot to teach, and if you're junior, you have a lot to learn, and I'm saying let's challenge the status quo," says one CEO. As youth workers we, of course, would agree (surely!) - young people have so much to teach and offer. It's also very biblical - Timothy is clearly instructed not to let his age discourage him from leading, but to set an example for others (including those older than him) in his godly leadership. The young can set an example for the old(er)!
What would it look like for a 14 year old to mentor the vicar on how to use twitter? Or could one of your young people mentor you in something?
I believe we could see impact like these mentoring pioneers have. I believe young people would grow in their passion for the community and own it more as they invested their talents in its growth. They could more greatly understand what leadership is and looks like and be able to imagine themselves there. It's a brilliant way to communicate that they have something to offer and are valued by the community. This is different from getting young people serving in the church and mentoring younger individuals. Those are bread and butter essentials - this has a different flavour to it.
This generation are keen to have a voice, they are keen to influence and to be heard. They also have a load of skills that the previous generation are largely lacking in. Could reverse mentoring be an opportunity to unleash some of that potential and gifting in a way that affirms them, encourages leadership and allows them to help shape the church of tomorrow? Greater retention and morale wouldn't do them much harm either (excuse the business terms).
So what are your young people good at? Who would value their guidance, advice and teaching? Could reverse mentoring be part of the answer to a potential-full but increasingly disillusioned, under challenged and disengaged generation?
I'd love to hear your thoughts...