Mentoring FAQ #2: Why can't I mentor someone of the opposite gender?

Because you have no idea how much power there is in a relationship. When you've been mentoring someone for a long time, you develop a concern for that person that rivals family. In fact, Paul clearly thought of Timothy as his own son. When one keeps the relationship properly within the confines of one's own gender, a father-son relationship is as deep as one gets, and that's definitely not shallow! However, if one were to cross over to mentoring, or being mentored by, the opposite gender, then that care and concern can become dangerous.

In fact, I'd venture to say that the care and concern which is natural and acceptable in a same-gender mentoring partnership WILL become dangerous in a mixed-gendered situation. How can one person work that closely with another person without becoming attached? It would be nearly impossible.The last thing we want to have happen in a godly outreach is to damage integrity and healthy relationships (think breaking up a marriage!).

And that's why you can't mentor someone of the opposite gender.

3 comments:

Nato said...

It will depend on how you define mentoring, but I'm going to generally disagree with you. If what you say is true, then we would need same-sex schools. My job is based on mentoring young adults, especially in the debate program. I have to maintain a professional relationship, but that's true for male and female students. Maybe your type of mentoring is different since you're both consenting adults, but I would think the basic premise would still hold. I will also say that my biggest mentor and advisor as far as my teaching career is concerned is a female.

Dan said...

Your a teacher, and while I understand the idea of mentoring as you teach, they are not the same. If you read II Timothy, you can get the idea of what Paul was modeling. Was there teaching? Of course, but it was different. I am a natural mentor of sorts to my students, but even then I forward all female students to a female Christian instructor.

As to your idea that your biggest mentor is a female, I would ask that you pose that statement to her and see what she says. She would probably call herself your advisor, but if she's a believer (and I think I know who you're talking about), then she probably won't call you her mentee.

And I still wouldn't recommend it, just the same.

June said...

Dan, Amen 100%