On my blog, Wealth Clarity, I talk a lot about the journey of significance and creating a life of meaning, alignment, and authenticity. When asked to guest blog for Spin Sucks, I wanted to pass along some thoughts beyond my wealth management expertise. Knowing that Gini Dietrich does a lot of work helping young adults not only find jobs, but also educating them on where they want to go, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss mentoring young adults.
A few weeks ago I wrote about finding mentors and how this is something that I’m working on in my own life. It wasn’t a skill I gained from my upbringing, but I now see the value.
Looking at my own 20-something boys, I realized that helping them in this area could be a valuable life skill. I have found that as my children have grown older, gotten taller than me, and stronger, there has been a magnified level of tension between us. From my perspective this plays out as: Dad doesn’t know anything. From my boys’ perspective this plays out as: Dad is preaching again (not listening). And they only resist my sincere attempts at helping. They just aren’t able to hear me.
So, several weeks ago a good friend of mine asked my son Trevor out for coffee. He offered to talk to him about setting work and financial goals this summer, making adjustments when he fails, and being accountable to someone. My friend isn’t sharing the content of their conversations so that it can be a safe environment for my son.
When I asked Trevor how their meeting went, he said, “It was great.” He told me that Robert was able to talk to him about things that I would have said, too, but I wouldn’t have listened. Wow!
This was a great reminder to me that there are some things I can teach my children and there are some things I can’t, or, better said, shouldn’t. Sometimes these things need to be taught by an uncle, grandfather, or adult friend who can communicate and discuss important life issues in a way I can’t. It doesn’t mean I am not a good father; it just means I am teaching them the important skill of building caring people around them who can speak truth into their life.
I am definitely not perfect in this area and find myself slipping back into the “preacher” role often, but it is something I am working on and aware of in a completely new way.
Are you a mentor to any young adults? What are you doing to encourage your young adult children to find and build mentor-like relationships?
John Christianson, CFA, founder and president of Highland Capital Management and author of the Wealth Clarity blog, has provided financial and investment advice to individuals and families of significant means for more than 20 years. To learn more about living a life of authenticity, he invites you to join the Highland Capital Facebook fan page.