Focus on Book Reviews: Cultivate

In Cultivate: Forming the Emerging Generation through Life-on-Life Mentoring, authors Jeff Myers, Paul Gutacker, and Paige Gutacker present a highly practical solution to working with a group they designate the Emerging Generation. This group is made up of young people ages 12 to 20-something. Since the emerging generation includes about one-half of the grades of a traditional K-12 school, this book becomes very important to those working with these young people.

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The authors of Cultivate use the process of growing plants to describe their vision for life-on-life mentoring. The book is divided into three parts. Each part addresses a different aspect of the mentoring process. The three parts are Gardening Tools, Growing Seasons, and Greenhouse Conditions.

In the first part, Gardening Tools, the authors define who the emerging generation is and why they are the way they are. With a goal of understanding those with whom we are dealing, the emerging generation is explained, analyzed, and compared to past generations. Then, seeking to follow the example of Jesus as He related to His disciples, six relational gestures are explained. According to the authors, relational gestures are those things that are done to impact the life of a mentoree. Each gesture is incomplete on its own; but as a group, the relational gestures help the mentor impact lives so that he will “bring a young adult to understand and live out a God-given life purpose, to a greater understanding of the truth, and to the desire to exert a positive influence” (p. 62). The relational gestures are easily remembered using the acrostic M-FACTS (p. 63).

M = Modeling—shows a mentoree what successful living looks like in a particular area of life.

F = Friendship—offers companionship and builds a menotree’s confidence.

A = Advising—provides direction when a mentoree is at a loss for what to do.

C = Coaching—supports a mentoree who is willing to grow toward greater levels of success.

T = Teaching—helps a mentoree gain a right understanding of truth.

S = Sponsoring—paves the way for a mentoree to intentionally move toward greater influence.

In part two, Growing Seasons, the focus shifts to helping mentorees see their God-given purpose in this world, gain wisdom to see God’s truth, and develop skills that allow them to become culture-shaping leaders. Through the abundance of practical ideas, the potential mentor will be equipped to help this emerging generation.

In part three, Greenhouse Conditions, mentors are given even more practical ideas to move beyond a surface relationship to a deepening life-on-life relationship that benefits both the mentor and the mentoree. Key ideas in this section focus on the how-to’s for getting started in the mentoring process, for protecting yourself and your mentoree by adhering to biblical safety standards, and for evaluating your relationship with your mentoree and your own spiritual growth during the process.

We are working in schools filled with students who are part of the emerging generation. Cultivate: Forming the Emerging Generation through Life-on-Life Mentoring challenges each one of us working with these students to become active in their lives. It is our responsibility to help build the next generation of God-honoring leaders. This book will move you from desiring to be a mentor to having a deep influence in the life of a young person. Filled with practical ideas and suggestions, Cultivate will be a help to anyone aspiring to take on the mentoring role.

How are you mentoring students at your school?  

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Copyright Journal for Christian Educators, Fall 2012 edition.  Reprinted with permission of the American Association of Christian Schools.

Reference

Myers, J., with Gutacker, P. & P. (2010). Cultivate: Forming the emerging generation through life-on-life mentoring. Dayton, TN: Passing the Baton International.

Shawn Smith served as the administrator of Owatonna Christian School (Owatonna, MN).