When did you know that mentoring would be part of your life?


As a young man leaving home for the first time in August 1975 to attend college, I knew mentoring youth eventually would be a part of life.

My young cousins stood on our front porch watching me leave. They admired me and at the same time were sad I was going away from them.  I was their older cousin and a big brother figure.

Venturing out in the world to this unknown place called Minnesota I remembered the overwhelming emotions of sadness, excitement and guilt of leaving my young cousins.  This was the first time in my life I truly felt vulnerable.

Cameron Conway, author of Caged: Memoir of a Cage-Fighting Poet said it best!

“Ultimate vulnerability. That’s manly.”

I remember those  feelings that day in 1975.  I know those feelings were instrumental in helping me mature. They also laid the foundation for me to realize my life’s purpose:

Guiding young men as they transition into manhood by helping them emotionally identify with all aspects of themselves.

Whatever path you walk I’m sure you’ve mentored someone whose life is forever enhanced!

How do you feel about being a mentor and transforming even one small corner of our world?

I’d love to hear about it!

Are we ultimately in the relationship building business?

BillRoddy_ManhoodFTHood_FBArt_61913_43This evening I had an interesting conversation with a young man I’ve been mentoring for many years. He’s had a series of challenges in life like most of us.

Today was something special.  He’s learning an important aspect of life; how to establish long lasting relationships in his personal and business life!

“Mr. Roddy, I’m starting to realize you eventually have to make a living by doing things you love and focus on building loving relationships with your family.”

I listened to him share his thoughts, I wanted to jump up and down and give him several ‘high fives.’ I reminded calm and asked him a few more questions and listen.

“Bob, how did you come to these conclusions?”

“Mr. Roddy, I’ve been watching Mrs. Roddy and you for twelve years. It’s starting to make sense to me.  Most of my struggles in my relationship with my fiancée are results of my perceptions of what I thought a man should be.

“What made you reconsider your approach?”  “I remembered the conversations we had when I was young. “You always shared with me that when our thoughts about life cause us pain they are signals for us to look within so that we can examine our thoughts, behavior and actions towards others.”

“What has cause you pain in your relationship with your fiancée?”  “I was valuing things and money more than relationships.”


Wouldn’t all of us love to grow by learning the art of establishing long-lasting relationships?

Don’t you feel knowing that when relationships are established the sky is the unlimited in our personal lives and in business?

What will we value when it’s our time to leave this earthly body?

Would it be things we own, our net worth, names on buildings, or would it be the relationship we’ve established with love ones?”




Do our missing biological fathers understand the emptiness they leave in their young sons and daughter’s hearts?

BillRoddy_ManhoodFTHood_FBArt_61913_48Several weeks ago I had lunch with a young man I am mentoring.  He and I met him at speaking engagement I did at a basketball banquet.

His is insightful, cares deeply for his siblings and others.  I am amazed at his compassion for others!

His parents divorced when he was in middle school. I wanted to know how he felt about his relationship with his father.

“Robert, would you mind sharing with me the type of relationship you have with your father?”

He paused.  I noticed a little sadness in his eyes and in his facial expression.

“Mr. Roddy, its ok but we don’t see him that much.  When my parents got divorced we all saw less and less of him.  He calls every once in a while but that’s about it.”

Both of our hearts ached! I knew he was seeking a positive relationship an adult male.  I was honored he choose me.

I shared my story about meeting my biological father for the first time.  I could see his eyes light up as if they were saying; I am not the only one who feels this way!

“Thanks Mr. Roddy.  This means a lot to me!  How did you know I had these feelings?”

“Robert, you can always feel free to share with me how you feel about your father.  Our lives are very similar.”


Couldn’t thousands of young men and women be helped by connecting with caring adults and agencies who understand the sadness, loneliness and anger that linger the hearts of fatherless youth?

Isn’t it interesting to know that I had to write a book to unleash my own sadness?



The power of a loved one’s words!

BillRoddy_ManhoodFTHood_FBArt_61913_50Can you remember a powerful statement someone made to you when you were young?

My grandfather and I met on our front porch on that memorable hot August afternoon on the west side of Chicago in 1975.  I was leaving home for the first time to attend college. Little did I know that day would be monumental.

I recall the overwhelming emotions as he spoke to me.

“Son, I am proud of you…………”

As a young man struggling to leave the nest and venture out into the world, my grandfather’s loving and powerful statement validated me as a man.  That was my rite of passage moment that I will never forget.

While mentoring young men for  20 years I have observed that for many no loving adult male figure has confirmed their transition into manhood.  Why do I know this to be true?   I can, feel and sense the uneasiness, pain and anger in them before they utter one single word.

Wouldn’t you agree that it is very powerful when a positive adult male confirms a young boy transitioning into manhood?

Wouldn’t it make a difference if all mentoring programs provided rites of passage ceremonies for young men and women?

Do you remember memorable words another person said to you?