Christ in the Rockies recently had the unique pleasure of interviewing Mike Haddorff, director of Christ in the Rockies, and his daughter Stacy Haddorff who is actively involved with Yoga teaching, philosophy, and practice.
In Life’s Journey Part III: Life Stretches, Stacy talked about the Asanas, and Mike described a mindset of living moment by moment. What follows is Part IV of this transcribed interview where Stacy and Mike discuss the ideals within Yoga philosophy and how those ideals relate to Mike’s personal journey, Christ in the Rockies, and Christianity in general.
The source of this transcription is a phone interview. It has been edited but has favored the spoken English of the interviewees. The method of transcription attempted to make the language readable, yet preserve the original spoken interaction at the same time.
In Part IV, Stacy and Mike discuss the dynamics of mentorship, on the giving and receiving end, and how mentorship has affected their own personal journey.
Christ in the Rockies (CITR): Can we go back to the idea of mentorship? Mentorship, the idea of an older person providing structure, discipline, or teaching for a younger person, seems to be an important topic for both Yoga and Christ in the Rockies. Can both of you talk about that a little bit?
Stacy Haddorff (SH): Mentorship is such a rich topic. Dad, do you want to go first? I mean, I definitely see Christ in the Rockies as a mentorship program. Any way you see it, there is definitely mentorship happening there.
Mike Haddorff (MH): Yes, and even mentorship to the dads. I’m thinking of a person in the adult years of their life. In the earlier years, especially the first half of your life, your primary activity is doing. You’re doing your job and you’re doing life. You’re doing life with another person. You’re doing.
Then, down the road a little ways, maybe in your thirties or so, you start to be a person who shows. Because of what you’ve learned to do, you can now share it and show it. So you show. So as the years go on, your ability to do starts to wane because of age and your ability to show increases. My role in life now is primarily to show not to do. In the earlier years, it was more about doing. I love to show now.
But then, what happens in life is you get to a point where, primarily because of physical constraints of age, your ability to even show starts to wane. You loose your eyesight or even your mind [Mike chuckles]. But what starts picking up in these later years is the ability to just merely bless. And I’ve loosely tied those into three stages of a man’s life.
First, there is a man, then a mentor (to show), then a patriarch (to bless). And I would think that is the goal of a man’s life, to come to the place, I think primarily in the second half of life, where that person has got experiences. He’s experienced lots of things, and his primary role becomes about being a person who just blesses. And he’s got the authority and the experiences in life, the gray hair, to just impart life to the younger generations. In Christ in the Rockies, it would be to the dads and to the sons.
Last week, I saw that process in play when I traveled to Texas with Bob Powell. Bob Powell is seventy-two and he was traveling with me. I’m fifty-nine. And we were talking to dads that were anywhere from five to ten years younger than me. So I’m not that far disconnected from these guys. But I’m in the mentor role.
But Bob is clearly in the patriarch role. He would get up during our sharing times and every time I talked, he talked. And he would start by kind of scratching his chin, and saying, “I was once where you guys are now. My son is forty-two. Let me tell you my story.” And basically what his story was about was don’t let these years go by. Capture these years, don’t let them go. Don’t let them slip away. Don’t waste these years that you have with your son.
He’s coming from the point of view of a patriarch. He’s pouring blessing into these men just by who he is and what he’s done in life. And he’s pouring that back to these guys as words of encouragement and words of life to them. That’s how I see it work. And I look at that as being the goal of one’s life. It’s simply to be a blessing to the next generation, to be an imparter of life to those who have yet to walk where you’ve walked.
So I look at mentoring as primarily to show, but then what that evolves into is where even show starts to wane and then it’s just to be a blessing engaged in other people’s life. So that’s what I would say about that.
SH: The different stages of mentorship even.
MH: Yes. What do you think, Stacy?
SH: Well, I’ve experienced receiving mentorship. I definitely think of the Lithia Springs program. And I remember, way back, when Marry Lynn was still here and we were all still working together, creating this program and curriculum and all of that, having board meetings back then. One of our board members brought in a publication that was the top fifty qualities that a young person needs to really thrive in their life, in particular, the at-risk population. And the very top thing, the thing that had the most influence, was having a mentor.
And it doesn’t have to be one on one. You find somebody you connect with, and it can be in a group setting. But it’s somebody that expresses their belief in you. It’s somebody that is like a big brother or a big sister, somebody that is just that presence in your life.
I still feel like that when I’m able to teach over there. And I’m getting up there. I’m about fifteen years older than most of them there. But I still feel that big sister role. I’m still young enough that I can relate to them on that level. I think when I get into my forties and fifties, it will be relating to them on a totally different level. But, right now, I still listen to the same music, some of the same music, not all of course [Stacy laughs]. But I can keep up with them.
So I think it’s a real precious time to work with teens. That, for me, is why I like working with that group. Maybe later in life I’ll enjoy showing, or doing the show, to older adults. Who knows? But it’s kind of humbling to me because you have to believe that you have something to share.
I had a Yoga teacher tell me something once. I was not very sure of myself with my teaching, which is one of the reasons I’m taking this training now. I just wasn’t very confident when I was teaching. She said just that your presence is the medicine. Not to be arrogant in saying that but that is the idea. Your presence in their life is good, that whatever is happening there is a good thing.
MH: That was great advice. You don’t have to perform. It’s just being there. That’s what I mean by patriarch. It’s the same idea.
One thing with Christ in the Rockies is that my calling, my gifting, my message, is definitely for the dads. There’s no question about it. I’m there primarily for the dads. My whole aim, through the teaching, is to reach the sons through the dads. I’m interested in their relationships with their sons, not for their sons to have a relationship with me.
But Jon Lachelt, our climbing guy, head climbing instructor, he relates to those sons. He’s so cool, up on the rocks, the stuff he can do. He’s just so amazing. And his personality, he’s just so likable and so safe, that boys really gravitate towards him. I think that is wonderful.
And so where we are in our personality, our age, all plays into our audience as we become mentors in life. And that is all very good. And to be able to have a mentor speak into your life, Stacy, that says “don’t worry about that, it’s just your presence that’s the medicine.” That is huge.
SH: Yes, she’s been a really great mentor for me, certain touch points. Also, I think it’s really important to seek out guidance when we need it. We’re not supposed to know all the answers. But we’re supposed to be wise in our choices about who will become our mentors.
CITR: It seems mentors are vital in whatever walk you are in. Thank you so much, Stacy and Mike, for your time this afternoon.
MH: Thank you!
SH: This was really awesome. I feel so full right now. I’m so glad this happened today. Thanks for coordinating this.
MH: I too feel full. I’m a blessed man. So thank you.
Thank you for reading!