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Better Together: Why Ironsharpening?

Over 30 years ago, I read a book that really left a lasting impression on me as a young man. My problem was that I could never remember the title of the book but I could tell you all about it. Well I was searching on the internet one day and finally found the name of the book. “The Moves Make The Man” by Bruce Brooks is the story of two junior high teenagers in the early 60’s in Wilmington NC.

Jerome who is African American, is a very sharp young man who is a very skilled basketball player who is very confident in who he is and feels like he can handle anything. Things like growing up without a father who died when he was very young and being the first black kid in an all white school in the heat of the de-segregation. One day, he goes to watch a little league game where one of the teams from the white league came down to the park where the black leagues play. Watching the game he notices this white shortstop that really impressed him with his natural athletic ability and confidence, kinda reminded him of himself. A short time later, he runs into this kid, named Bix. Through a series of tragic circumstances the two boys find themselves in a home econ class. They strike and instant friendship which goes well till one day the seemingly calm, confident and collected Bix freaks out in class and disappears from school.

They meet up again one day when Jerome goes out to play basketball at his favorite private court in the middle of the woods and he sees his friend playing some strange game with a basketball that looked nothing like the game he plays. Remembering what a great athlete he was, Jerome offers to teach Bix how to play the game the right way. Bix agrees and they embark on a journey that proves to be years beyond their time and leaves a lasting impression on Jerome that lasts a lifetime and is the reason he is telling this story in the book.

I won’t ruin the rest of the book for you, but I will tell you that it is a good easy read that is definitely a non-Christian novel that tells a story that is still as relevant today as it was when it was written nearly three deades ago. This book had a lasting impression on my life and basically formed part of my world view and is the reason why I do what I do.

Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so does one man to another” is one of those foundational scriptures or life texts whose theme has ran through every part of my life. This book really is one of the best illustrations of the power of relationships to overcome many barriers that life can throw you.

The best description of their relationship is what I like to call an "Ironsharpening" or mentoring relationship. The simplest definition of an Ironsharpening relationship is a relationship where two individuals are willing to share the best of what they have to push each other to become the best they can be. I am convinced that the way to become a success is by investing in these types of relationships. Ironsharpening relationships take many forms. Whether it's a relationship between coach and player, between older and younger teammates, teacher and student or between disciple and disciple-maker, it's a relationship between someone who has been somewhere showing someone who wants to get there. The problem today is that these relationships are not sought out as they should.

In this series "Better Together" we will explore what it means to get "better together" through Ironsharpening relationships. Every great leader will always tell you they didn't get where they are without someone who showed them the way. You show me a man who says he did it on his own, I will show you a man who is in denial of how he became a success. There is not a single person who was born on this planet that came out of the womb an instant success.

Throughout our lives we encounter people and situations that help form and shape our world view. Mentors are all around us but the problem is that most don't know how to recognize them. Mentoring happens whether we choose to recognize it or not. To get the most out of mentoring, you have to be able to identify who these mentors are and in what context do they influence our lives. In the next post, we will talk about the three relationships that you need to have active in your life in order to become a true success.

If you are ready to become all that you have been created to be, then I invite you to come on this journey and let's get "Better Together"!

Stay Forever Strong!



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