Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Grabbing on to the Sandwich Generation

I find myself, at age 51, a part of the so-called “Sandwich Generation” in more ways than one:

  • With a college junior and a high school junior, I’m still very much a parent
  • With one grandson already, I’m learning that this Grandparenting thing is a cool ride
  • With parents and in-laws well into their 80s, the likelihood of their having to leave their homes for other places in the future is a distinct possibility
  • In my business, I have been fortunate to become a resource for churches seeking solutions to their problems and opportunities, working alongside them on the journey
  • I am also blessed to be a part of a national network that enables me to teach and learn with some of the brightest minds in this thing I call ChurchWorld-today’s church in all its various shapes and forms

The classic definition of the Sandwich Generation is adults who are still parents, but are also faced with the challenges and opportunities of “parenting” their parents. As I have described my personal situation above, the title definitely fits. Lately, though, I have been thinking of the term in another way – I lead and mentor others, but am beginning to realize that mentoring also works “in reverse.” There are young leaders out there that I know without a doubt could be great “mentors” for me!

This unique version of mentoring first developed in the business world in the late 1990s, with several well-known companies (GE, Proctor & Gamble) leading the way. The practice of “teaching up” has become influential in almost every field. However, in ChurchWorld, it seems to be slow to develop.

And that’s a shame.

Once again, Leadership Network, through its excellent resources, has published a resource that will become a field guide for church leaders who want to explore this idea of “teaching up.”

Reverse Mentoring” by Earl Creps, provides a guide for leaders who want to experience personal formation by exercising the kind of humility that invites a younger person to become a tutor. Beginning tomorrow, I will start a series of posts that dive into the book – I plan on learning a lot, and I hope you can join the conversation.

No comments: