Tomorrow (Saturday 6/9) F3 Gastonia launches its Whetstone program. F3 Whetstone gives HIMs a chance to learn from each other beyond the beatdown, fellowship and faith events. It’s essentially a mentorship, giving a younger guy (a Blade) has the opportunity to learn from an older and (somewhat 😉 wiser guy (a Stone).
I can think of times when a good mentor would have saved me a lot of grief, and good times that would have been even better with a bit of added wisdom. I’m sure other guys (especially those who hear “respect” now on a regular basis) can do the same. As Dredd points out in the Q Source, older guys have a desire to pass on what they know. Younger guys have the need and desire to know. F3 creates the kind of relationships where that can happen. Let’s tap into that in Gastonia!
I’ve pasted below a Whetstone introduction sent to me by Stinger, Whetstone Q for F3 Nation, who will speak to us tomorrow morning (along with a few brief nuggets from our own Nantan Tool Time). Check it out!
See you tomorrow 0700 at Midoriyama!
F3 Gastonia Whetstone Q
Here is a link to the interest form: F3 Gastonia Whetstone Form
In F3, we stipulate that every man has been born with an innate, hard-wired quest for purpose and meaning in his life. In response, most men live their lives striving for significance (through family, career/success, power, reputation). This striving is admirable, albeit flailing and misdirected at times, and when there are small gains towards relevance, many men find themselves unconsciously distracted and contented as they enjoy the satisfaction of their success. They became fat and grow soft, admiring their own contributions. On the flipside, without success a man will inevitably grow weary, discouraged, and numb, their spirits quenched and their desire for meaning gradually dimmed. For each man, the journey toward fulfillment is often long and arduous, individualized with a mixed bag of failures and setbacks, successes and gains. But, for all men, there are commonalities along the journey, and the targeted destination is essentially the same. In the end, we want our lives to have mattered, to have been for some thing or some purpose greater than ourselves. And we want to know that we lived it in such a way that it did matter.
But deep within most men is a nagging thought – perhaps even a fear – that the trajectory of their life will fall short, that they are off target, that complacency and fatigue will stall the advance, that their own blind spots will be their undoing. Consequently, wiser men throughout history have sought direction and counsel from other men a little further down the path. This is traditional mentoring where the trusted and more experienced man provides guidance to the less experienced man in pursuit of meaning and purpose.
History offers many great examples of mentor/mentee relationships. Some of these relationships have been more formalized (e.g., apprenticeships, knighthood, coaching), while others are formed organically over months and years. Admittedly, many of today’s more institutionalized mentoring programs fall short due to insufficient direction, standards, and commitment. As a result, today’s cultural premise of mentoring often lacks substance and thus appeal, while the need is arguably as great as ever.
The Whetstone is F3’s response to this very significant, but often unmet, demand for traditional mentor/mentee relationships. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Just as a whetstone is used to sharpen the blade of a knife, F3’s Whetstone program enables a Stone (mentor) to more effectively sharpen his Blade (mentee) as they walk through life together. Intuitively, sharpening demands that the whetstone be harder (i.e., made of tougher stuff) than the blade, and the process can be painful to the object to be sharpened. It is not coffee talk. Whetstoning requires friction to be effective, the Stone grinding away accumulated rust and dross from the Blade’s life, leaving him focused with a renewed sense of direction and purpose.
This is not a ‘fix it’ program in that, after considerable time together, the Stone will have resolved those flaws and issues the Stone has identified in the Blade. Both Stone and Blade are flawed and imperfect men. However, given the blessing of more – or a deeper well of – life experiences (not necessarily age based), the Stone has an obligation and the privilege to engage with another man, a Blade, to help him identify and achieve his God-given purpose for being.
An effective Stone must be vulnerable and transparent, an effective listener, committed to the Blade’s journey, an encourager but also willing to speak the Hard Truth when necessary. It involves accountability, shared wisdom and counsel, and a deep sense of earned mutual trust. Through the Whetstone, the Blade is not gaining a new buddy, although a deep friendship may develop over time. The Blade should enter the Whetstone relationship with respect for and patience and trust in the process, honestly assessing his current position and life circumstances with an appreciation for his strengths and his current challenges and vulnerabilities. Assuming a posture of humility and ready to receive from the Stone, the Blade leans into the friction in order to be pruned, strengthened, and sharpened, gradually being transformed into a High Impact Man ready to serve his family and community, and ultimately as a Stone for another man down the line. This is F3’s Whetstone program.