The Influence of a Father: Mentoring

In the days following the death of my father and his memorial services, I have been thinking a great deal about his legacy and influence on my life: past, present, and future. 

I realized that his influence has impacted not only my life, but hundreds of others as well. In his honor, I will be posting thoughts this week about that influence, and how it challenges me. Along the way, there will be applications for ChurchWorld leaders as well.


As we move through this thing called “life,” don’t we all wish we had a guide, a coach, a model, an advisor?

We’re looking for a mentor.

My father would not have used that word, but he did better than that: he lived and practiced being a mentor for decades.

After he was discharged from the Army Air Corps in 1946, he returned home to Mt. Juliet, TN, and began working with his brother to build and open a Gulf Service Station. After several years of work, Adams Brothers Gulf opened in 1949. 

For the next 44 years, my dad – known as “Doc” to friends and family – operated the gas station as a full service station providing not only gasoline but also preventive maintenance and tire services. He operated the station 6 days a week, 12 hours a day – and he was the only full-time employee.

Doc’s secret? He hired part-time boys in high school, with their hours being after school and Saturdays. They began working in their early teens, and could only work until they graduated – at which point they were “fired.” 

According to my dad, when you graduated from high school it was time for a “real” job or college. And so over the years, about fifteen young boys (including my brother and I) worked for my dad pumping gas, changing tires, sweeping, cleaning, painting, etc. – whatever was required. We all received a paycheck, but the life lessons we learned were far more important than the money.

At the funeral, as many of “Doc’s boys” as we could find served as pall bearers and honorary pall bearers. Some were only a few years younger than my dad; others are barely in their forties. All have gone on to lead a successful family and business life. To a man, they each expressed their heartfelt gratitude for what Doc meant to them. They wouldn’t say it, but they in turn have, and are, influencing others the same way.

If you are a leader, you should be a mentor.

How are you going to influence others today? How are you going to continue to influence others beyond today?

Here are a few other posts on mentoring you might find helpful:

 (a reposting of a previous series on Mentoring, while I am away on vacation)


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