In his book, Fathered By God, John Eldredge of Ransomed Heart Ministries, writes about the six stages of manhood. Last week, I happened to have 3 of the 6 podcasts that he did a while back, discussing the various stages with some of his man-friends. *or bros, for the younger men.
One of the podcasts, was on the 6th and final stage, that of a Sage. Funny enough, none of these 4 or 5 guys said anything for the first 10 seconds following the line that opened the discussion. “So, let talk about the Sage.”
Each of them, agreed, that this was in part, because none of them were at that stage, which if put into an age-group, would be 60+ or so. But then, as the dialogue progressed, they realized there were few men in their lives who played the role of the Sage. One of them brought up the character of Yoda, of Star Wars glory; and hence, the title of this post.
Through each of these phases, it is possible, that we should begin to think about mentoring the generation coming behind us. We are so quick to get caught up in our own position or stage of life, that we don’t realize how quickly we could help others navigate their way on better terms and with better outcomes than what we have accomplished.
Part of me hesitates to suggest that, as if you could share enough wisdom, that you might reach the age-appropriate stage of a Sage and have nothing to say or offer…which is not the case, by any means.
Interestingly enough, though, one of the men pointed out, that there are so many guys in that phase of life who do feel they have nothing to offer in the realm of mentor-ship and counsel. The stereotypical one, being the retiree in Florida, doing nothing but eat, sleep, golf. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you can “kill it” in golf, why not mentor the next Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus. Incidentally, these are men who have done phenomenally well in their profession, both on and off the course, that they would be considered Sages.
Sadly, as Eldredge and others have pointed out for a number of years now, we have “killed” men. We killed their imagination during their boy years and then wonder why they have no creativity. We don’t teach them to respect Mom or worse, they see Dad disrespect Mom, then we wonder why they can’t keep a girlfriend or fail to treat women well, either by simply being a jerk or some form of abuse. We’ve changed what we teach about ethics, integrity and morality only to watch greed, pride and corruption take them over in what Eldredge defines in the 5th stage, of the Kingdom years.
So instead of being sought after for counsel, they are avoided. As the instructor character of Charlie, from Top Gun says, “We’ve shown it here as an example of what NOT to do.”
The sobering thought…through the numerous forms and means that we have physically and figuratively destroyed men…how many Yodas never had the chance to exist. They never made it to this stage of manhood.
Worse…how much effort needs to be made, to invest in this generation to prove that they do have something offer. As we just celebrated the work and dedication of service of our U.S. Armed Forces and Veterans…there is work for you to do…post service and retirement years. Forgive us for offering you a menial job as a door greeter in Wal-Mart, though as I am reading The Fred Factor even that is a job that you should do exceptionally well.
If you don’t value your life, how will you achieve anything great. If you don’t value the life of others, how will you expect anything great. If you don’t value your experience, how can one expect you to share your wealth of wisdom when inquired?
You are capable of being great. You capable of doing great. You are capable of inspiring others to do and be the same.
Do not be deceived nor demeaned into thinking anything less, regardless of which of the six stages that Eldredge outlines.
The good news, Yoda does still exist. You will need to search for him, in your life in your life and in your profession. You will need to become him for someone else’s life and their profession.
One man in the podcast discussion, made an incredible statement. He had recently met with his Sage, a man of 65 or so. During the meeting, the 65-yr Sage talked about his Sage, a man of 85. The 65-yr Sage said of his 85-yr Sage, he spent more time working on his inner-man, than he did his outer man.
And you could hear the pin-drop in the discussion.
The 85-yr old Sage spent so much time, primarily, as a man of God, with God, in prayer and devotion and worship. His wisdom was not based solely on human understanding, wisdom and experience.
It was grounded in the Word of God and his relationship with Christ and what had transpired in his heart during his walk with God.
This is the missing element in our culture and society today. You don’t have to look hard to notice it. You barely have to look at the news to hear about it. Secular society and mainstream media won’t blatantly admit it, but the reason we are a mess on the outside, is that we fail to see, recognize and understand who were are on the inside.
Made in the image of God. His workmanship. You can value your life because He values yours. You can value others because He values them.
Your experience is for a reason and it would be a shame for the wealth of wisdom that you have gained from it, to be wasted.
It is for His Glory. It is to the benefit of the generations to follow you.
That makes you by definition, a Leader.
If you will permit me literary license:
Lead like Yoda.