Think back to when you were a new mom. Do you remember holding a crying baby and wondering what you were doing wrong? Or having doubts that you would ever get him to sleep through the night? Or perhaps wondering at what age it was safe to introduce table foods?
Perhaps you, like me, didn’t have the benefit of a mother or aunt or even older sister who lived nearby to pass on some encouragement and parenting wisdom.
Perhaps you, like me, were in need of a mentor.
Or think back to when you were a new Christian. All the questions you had: about Scripture, and sin, and walking out your faith. Can you think of the person who came alongside you and shared her own wisdom? If you had someone in particular come to mind, you’re very fortunate! Many of us go through life during these times on our own.
But friend, let me tell you: we’re all in need of mentors and mentoring!
What exactly is Mentoring?
Mentoring is one of those activities that was an integral part of life long ago. It is coming alongside someone, living life intentionally with them, and working together so that both parties can become the best they can be. It’s really plain and simple as that! Combining our instant-information society with the ease and ability we have to change our zip code resulted in the concept of mentoring being left by the roadside for many years. Thankfully, it has become fashionable, or perhaps needed, once again. Taking a look at some of the characteristics of mentoring can help us understand…
5 Reasons Why Mentoring Is Important
The neat thing about mentoring is that the benefits go both ways, whether it’s offering a hand or just being a friend on the journey regarding parenting, one’s personal life, or spiritual life, or marriage… Here are the “Top 5” benefits of mentoring in my book:
- Influence – It allows us to be in a close, trusting relationship, watch another side “in action” and consider something new and/or different: whether it’s an opinion or a belief or a way of doing something…
- Education – We can learn new skills and wisdom from each other or build on what we already know…
- Encouragement – Who hasn’t had a day when all it took was a word or even a hug when things weren’t going so good? Or we were just tired? Mentors often become good friends…
- Support – I can’t tell you how much it has helped me over the years when a friend has gone out of her way to help me along with a project. There’s nothing like someone going the extra mile to help you get started or get going once again. And during those times, we often get to work through the next benefit, which is…
- Challenge – In those times when we are blinded by our own “issues” or ignorance, a good friend and a true mentor will gently pull us aside and challenge us to re-think our actions or attitudes, or even flat-out point out where we may be going astray. “Better an open rebuke from a friend than a multitude of kisses from an enemy”.
And Why Mentoring is so Important for Homeschooling Moms
In addition to the reasons above, mentoring is crucial for homeschooling moms. To have the benefit of wisdom and perspective that experience brings can make all the difference for a new homeschooler. There are and will be days – and we all have them – when we feel like failures, like throwing in the towel, totally un-equipped for the task at hand. The friendship, wisdom, and support that a seasoned mentor can provide can help clarify and sustain us during those times. Knowing that you’re not alone, that there are better days ahead, having someone to pray with and for you…I mean, those are just priceless gifts. And having been on both sides of the relationship, I speak from experience.
If you’ve come this far, friend, I would imagine your next question might be:
How can I become (or find) a mentor?
…which is a really easy question to answer!
- Pick up the phone.
- Call a friend and ask them to lunch, or coffee, or a walk…
- Live life intentionally with them.
See? It doesn’t have to be complicated or formulaic. It just has to be real, and committed, and true. The blessings and benefits are beyond what you can even imagine!
If you’re looking for a terrific tool to help you get your head around this concept for yourself, I recently came across this book by Sue Donaldson Moore: “Table Mentoring: A Simple Guide to Coming Alongside.” It’s written as I would imagine a conversation with a friend might go: with Scripture references presented as they relate, questions posed as they would naturally occur, suggestions and tips from her own journey that all serve to get us over any perceived hurdles to just. get. STARTED! She also includes various worksheets, inspiring quotes, prayers from Scripture, suggested further reading, and other tidbits in the back of the book
I’m hoping someone comes to mind as you read this today. Let me encourage you to just pick up the phone and give them a call! Add a fresh pan of brownies, a pot of hot coffee (or tea!) and come alongside them…
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