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Friday, May 19, 2017

"Face to Face" (Jayme Hull with Laura Captari)

TITLE: Face to Face: Discover How Mentoring Can Change Your Life
AUTHOR: Jayme Hull with Laura Captari
PUBLISHER: Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2016, (192 pages).

When we have an important issue to discuss, if possible, we prefer to talk in person. Even in an Internet age, being physically present still makes a difference when it comes to interpersonal relationships. We can talk over the telephone but cannot see the facial expressions. We can talk via Messenger or SMS but we are limited only to the words sent or received. We can use social media but there is no guarantee of an immediate response. Good communications are beyond words or voices. Years ago, I learn that it is quite acceptable to use technology when giving praises and positive feedback. When it comes to criticisms or negative feedback, talk face to face. Taking something tense offline will not only defuse any explosive situation, it increases space for understanding. For author and ministry leader, Jayme Hull, this is extended to mentoring as well. In fact, it is a life changing experience for both mentor and mentee.

Mentoring is an increasingly popular topic, and something most people would agree as important. What is not so clear is how to find one, what it looks like, and how to go about the whole process. It might even seem like we need a mentor to teach us what mentoring is all about. This book fits that need. I will review this on the basis of the four Ps.

A) Process (What)
Hull begins with an invitation to readers to start somewhere. It's about learning to leave our comfort zones of controlling one's destiny toward humility to let others help and guide us through needed areas of discomfort. She shares about her first trip alone to New York City, and how she sees her need for a mentor in spite of the thrill of independence. A mentor is a "friend, a guide, and a confidante who offers a listening ear, honest feedback, and spiritual encouragement." It begins with a conscious need before the search. She writes this to female audiences but readers will find the information readily transferable to all genders. For the need for mentoring is for all. Mentors help us to listen and to pray. It is less about answers to life's problems but more about someone walking us through life's difficult questions. We all need to grow up and mentoring is a great way to do just that.

B) Person: (Who)
Once the need is established, the next step would be to look for a suitable mentor. This can be rather intimidating especially for those just starting on on this mentoring journey. Using her personal story of her move to Florida, Hull shares her fear and loneliness having to move across states to a new place. She learns to make friends with people in a cooking class. Just sharing the same hobby or passion is a great start in the search for a mentor. It begins with connecting with people within our reach. It needs courage to step out of our individual cocoons. All it takes is a first step and the perseverance to keep asking. Readers get to learn the ten things to look for in a mentor. She even gives tips on how to ask and what to do when we are rejected.

C) Practice: (How)
Section Three describes the journey of growing together. It takes more than good intentions to have a good mentoring relationship. It requires authenticity; seriousness; intentionality; teachability; humility; respect; honest communications; and willingness to adapt. Sometimes, conflicts do happen. After all, no one is perfect and Hull provides some useful guidelines on what to do when that happens.

D) Path Forward: (Where Next?)
Mentoring is less to do with activities but more about our authenticities. It is about our identity and how we align our activities to who we are. This journey of learning about ourselves is not an end in itself. We can share what we learn and impart our learning to others, as well as the next generation. The earlier we begin, the more experience we can gain, and the more we can teach and share with others.

I believe that mentoring is for everyone, even though we feel the need at different times. The idea is simple but it may take us years to understand how significant mentoring can be. While the book offers a systematic way of getting the mentoring initiative moving, I believe that mentoring can start at any time. Even the process of getting someone interested in mentoring is already a mentoring step. For that matter, mentoring is not just about one big name guru in our community. Neither is that person an older person or some famous personality. A mentor is simply someone who is able to connect with us and we feel comfortable enough to share about our inner struggles. This book is about women to women mentoring; but I see no reason why it couldn't be applied to other genders. The general guide is to mentor and be mentored by people of the same gender. I am also convinced that a mentor can also be books and resources that we can get our hands on. In fact, some great mentors can be people who had written great literature throughout history. I know of people who consider people like the desert fathers; the saints of old; the martyrs of faith; and even popular contemporary Christian authors and musicians as their mentors, even if they had never met them face to face. In this light, perhaps, the title of the book can be a little misleading. Ideally, mentoring needs to be face to face, but given the many different scenarios and challenges of having two persons available for each other, we might have to make do with alternative arrangements in our typically busy world. Face to face then might even mean being honest and upfront with ourselves. That is indeed the goal. Taken spiritually, God is always our mentor. He can use people to be our mentors or to use us to mentor others. God could also use available resources, the Internet, music, or nature to inform us about mentoring. God could also mentor us in ways out of the ordinary. The sky's the limit, but the need is the same. We need guidance for discernment. As long as we are open and sensitive to God, we will know of God's guidance. As long as we listen and are teachable, we will learn. One more thing. Use this book in conjunction with other books on mentoring. One really good book for leaders and pastors is "The Potter's Rib" by Brian A. Williams. Check that out. If not, this book does supply a kick start to one of the most rewarding journeys made possible by mentoring.

Jayme Hull is an author, speaker, and ministry leader in all things mentoring. She has benefitted from many different mentors and writes out of the richness of these experiences of over 35 years. He resides in Tennessee with her husband. They have three married children and four grandchildren.

Rating: 4.25 stars of 5.


This book has been provided courtesy of Moody Publishers under the Moody Blogger Reviews Program without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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