Somehow, I got an email about The Mentoring Project started by Donald Miller, the Blue Like Jazz author and several other popular books. The website for his mentoring efforts based in Portland, Oregon really grabbed my attention, more than I like to admit.
It involves getting churches to get their guys to sign-up for an hour or two a week to spend with a fatherless kid. There would be training and other obvious thing, but the concept is so simple and potentially so life-changing for the kids being mentored.
I grew up fatherless. I never knew my dad until I found him when I was in my late twenties in a state far-away and with another family. He deserted my mom and me in 1948 without saying anything and never came back.
No calls, letters or any kind of contact until I confronted him at his doorstep and he threatened and disowned me.
I'm sure that I was not much different than many from the first group of baby-boomers where dad and mom connected during or right after World War II and had a kid right away. Then dad bugs out for whatever reason.
There's always been a void in my life created by the absence of my father or any father figure. I had some uncles who were great, but they had their own families. But, I never had a dad to affirm my personhood or manhood, my individuality or whatever you want to call it.
So, I know, firsthand, the importance of The Mentoring Project started by Miller. But, my experience with the church in this area has been negative. My personal experience left a scar on my heart where it was always hard to reconcile the talk about the love of Jesus with the reaction of church members towards me and my mom. My impression was they didn't care.
Has the attitude changed? I hope so. Making use of men in church to help in this way can be life-changing. Believe me the potential is huge.
I've discovered that my dad is dead. He was cremated. I can't even go to his grave. Our situation will never resolve.
I've been blessed in such a big way in being a father, but my kids are grown. It's time to branch out. I hope Miller is committed to this. He could leave a legacy through this project that will carry on for generations.