As you may have figured out, I’ve been working on plans for my blog…where I want to be in the next year, 5 years, 10 years? At my age, being alive would be a good goal to start with…not exactly one I can control…but anyway…
As you can see from the mission statement below, I have narrowed my focus a bit. As a result, I plan to write more than the normal number of posts in the next few weeks on mentoring because compared to the other topics, I haven’t written a lot on that one…and it is a major part of my focus…and passion.
Who is the younger woman?
I am writing to younger women and not defining that label too precisely. You can decide if you fit the category or not. Mainly, the reason I’m writing to younger women is because they are most likely to be reading a blog. Not very many of my friends read them. So writing to older women is sort of a waste of time. Mind you, an older woman can still find plenty to read and enjoy…and comment on, on this blog. Someday, all of you will be older women…if you survive!
I realize that there are times when you may flip-flop from one group to another. For example, if you have 3 kids and are in a group of moms with only one child, no matter your age, you are going to be the older woman in any conversation re children by virtue of your experience. And honestly, that is often the way it works. Age isn’t always the determining factor in these relationships. Life experience, how long you have been an active believer (as opposed to passive…if there even is such a thing!)
The concept of Spiritual Mothering or the mentoring of younger women by older women is often full of controversy.
- Why do I have to be the one who asks? This comes from both younger and older women. I don’t see anything written down that says either one needs to ask. Often, you are most aware of the need. If you are the older woman, it could be the need this younger woman has keeps hitting you in the face. As the younger woman, you keep being aware of your need for help. As far as I know, there is no specific protocol. I will mention something here in that regard, however. Have you noticed that often younger people think they have their lives all figured out? They are going to fix the world! They are going to be better than their parents. I don’t think I was the only young person who thought that way. There is no question that happens at times, but a basic concept of learning is that unless the learner is wanting to learn, not much will happen! When a younger woman gets to the point where she is willing to ask an older woman for help, she is usually desperate enough to listen to advice given. That isn’t to say that an older person should never involve themselves in another person’s life. They should…in kind, encouraging ways for sure! But as far as giving advice? It often is wise to wait until the person asks for it. At that point, they are often much more ready to listen, to take wise advice and to realize they need it.
- How will I find the woman I need? Translated, this often means How will I find a perfect older woman? In reality, that isn’t what you need. You don’t need someone who looks back on her life and can only see a trail of perfection. Why? Because she is either senile or she is insensitive to what has been going on around her! You do NOT want someone who thinks of her life as one that has been perfect. You want someone who remembers that she has made mistakes…sometimes some very big mistakes. Then you want her to remember how GOD redeemed them. That is a woman you will want for a mentor.
- What do I do/say? What seems to come naturally? That is what you need to say! For some, they talk in the context of prayer needs and then pray together. If you can be real and do it that way, fine. Others do it in the context of a Bible study. It depends on the person…I tend to do it in the context of conversation of what has happened that week…or has been happening. It usually doesn’t take very long…with some open-ended questions, before we get to the heart of what is going on with them. Depending on what it is, we go from there to pray or find encouragement in GOD’s Word. Sometimes asking more open-ended questions here and there. The advantage of working with one or maybe two women is that you don’t have to have a strict schedule or deal with the “mentor police!” Yes, you want to manage your time well, but you don’t want to have a rigid schedule during this “visit” with your new friend. Often, babies interrupt and cut the time short. It all depends on how you do your time together. Ideally, you can meet somewhere where the conversation doesn’t have to be interrupted, but that isn’t always possible.
Ask GOD to open your eyes to an older woman that you need to ask to mentor you in your spiritual growth…or to meet with you weekly/monthly or whatever works best for both of you.
Pray for GOD to give you the words to say as you ask her for her wisdom. Yes, it may be difficult. Yes, she may not agree right at first. It won’t necessarily be a personal thing. She may never have done it herself. Yes, it may even be very humbling for you to ask anyone for help of any kind. That is a great reason to do it!