• Simone Poppleton

MENtorship

There has been such a heaviness in my spirit this week. For those who don’t know South African women have experienced dark atrocities at the hands of sinful, violent men forever, and enough is enough. I felt it in the eyes of others I met, and in the pained words of others whose posts I read. I know I cannot have been the only one who felt helpless and powerless this week. A desire to do something but not knowing that to do, or how to make it stop. But I believe in the power of impact and I believe that each one of us have that power and potential within us to impact the spaces we occupy using the positions and roles we possess. Parents in the way they raise their sons and daughters, teachers in educating their students, politicians in leading a country, men in the choices they make, women in the way raise their voices. I’ve been burdened heavily by trying to find a way to make a difference beyond Instagram or Facebook. And it dawned on me. The one thing I know and love dearly is psychology. Now what I’m going to say I’ve considered long and hard, and I hope that you will see my heart in it.


Boys need role models. And in South Africa fatherlessness is a pandemic fueled by the absence of positive role models. Over 60% of South African kids are in homes without fathers. And yet I think it’s one of the most ignored social issues of our time. The absence of a father figure has profound and lasting effects on a child’s sense of security, love, development of life skills, unemployment, early sexual development and delinquency. This isn’t intended to excuse or justify the atrocities by broken, sinful men at all. It’s meant to affirm that young boys desperately need intervention, they desperately need male role models to learn HOW to be a good man! Importantly not all fatherless children will have these lasting effects and why is that might you ask? Because they have other protective individual or community factors that are aiding their resilience.


There are so many young boys (and girls) at risk, and need to be saved. I have seen many posts honouring the good men in our lives. Good men who raised good children, good men who stepped into the role of the father for children that weren’t their own, good husbands, good male family members, good male friends. I was raised by GOOD men, I am loved by GOOD men, I am married to a GOOD man, I belong to a GOOD God.


God wants to adopt each of us into His family, it brings Him great pleasure. We all have a need to be loved, cherished, protected, and valued. Ideally, an earthly father will meet those needs. But even if he doesn’t, God will. God invites us to break our spirit of slavery and to accept our spirit of Adoption. God has a special place in His heart for the orphans and fatherless. Psalm 27:10 says, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.” God knows that many times earthly fathers have been absent or have not done their job (Ephesians 6:4), but He is the Father to the fatherless. He models for us the characteristics He had in mind when He designed fatherhood. Through His Spirit living in us, we can love God and others because He loved us first.


We need our good men to step up and become involved, to be the men and fathers that reflect Christ’s love. I have a heart for programmes/ workshops and I believe there is a real need for MENtorship by good fathers to the fatherless, a need for healthy and meaningful interactions and connections between boys and good men.


For now, I’ve got in touch with The Character Company, a mentorship programme of men and women from all walks of life who are concerned with the impact of absent fathers on our families and society, and are working together to grow the relationship between an adult male (MENtor) and a boy (acorn) that fosters guidance, support and encouragement that will make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of these young boys. Definitely worth checking them out for yourself!


I think there is a greater need and opportunity, so if you, men and women, are interested in collaborating in creating a MENtorship programme, I’d love you to get in touch with me!

One of my beloved history teachers had this stuck up in the front of her classroom and it’s as true as ever: “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has” Margaret Mead.

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