Breaking Up with Students: The Art of Mentoring Youth

mentoring isn’t forever

G e n e s i s 1 3 : 1 1 b – 1 2

The two men parted company: Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom.

Abram and Lot travel many miles together from Haran, somewhere in the northern part of modern-day Syria; to Canaan, southern part of modern-day Israel; and then to Egypt and back to Canaan. They accumulate a large amount of possessions along the way. But at one point they realize they need to part ways.

The realization comes when they experience a lack of resources to sustain their households and hostility among their herdsmen. Yet in the midst of such circumstances, Abram does not turn inward and fight against Lot or simply settle for the bad circumstances. Rather, he turns to Lot and suggests parting ways for the well-being of both of them.

It is hard to find a person you can trust and share your life with. It is even harder to say goodbye to that person.  Yet, as a mentor, you need to realize that you are not always called to travel with your student forever. When faced with difficult circumstances, sometimes it is best to turn to the person and suggest parting ways.

May your love for the other person guide your discernment when such circumstances arise.

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Paul Sheneman
Paul Sheneman is an author, speaker and youth pastor. He serves with the Macedonia Methodist Church in Ohio. He drinks way too much coffee for his own good. His main interest is exploring Christian formation. You can follow most of his ramblings on his blog at www.discipleshipremix.com or on Twitter @PaulSheneman.