I am currently joining Elisa Pulliam, and a group of other women in a study on mentoring, following Lisa’s book, Impact My Life: Biblical Mentoring Simplified. One of the opening questions was, “Can you think of at least one woman that has filled a mentor role in your life and describe to us how she served you that way?”
I have a Mentor
My answer is: My mum. She always has been my mentor, encourager, friend, though there have been a few other women as well, but none that compare with the influence of my mum. She has guided me towards Jesus and still does in every difficulty I face – be it relational or functional. Her encouragement is always to consider how I can reflect Christ and follow His word. For the last 20 years we have lived on the other side of the country from each other and yet her influence in my life is just as strong – if not stronger – than it was when I lived in her home. We have never had a formal Bible study together and yet the word of God is central to our conversations. We rarely even pray together in a formal sense (though we did when I was younger) though I know God is present in our every conversation. I am very blessed to have my mum beside me.
And I’m the Mentor
The discussion group has made me really think about my mum as my mentor and the significance of that. Mum being my mentor has been the model that I’m setting for my girls. It is my heart’s desire that I will be able to mentor them, that I will be an influence in their life. Not exclusively, as certainly there have been other women speaking into my life over the years too, but as a main influence.
This is a counter cultural expectation though. Culturally, it seems that if you have been a parent, you can disciple/mentor other teens, but not your own. I don’t understand this. It is the same when our kids become Christians, we can teach other kids about Jesus but we need other people to teach ours. Women in the church expect to be my girls’ mentors because that is how it has always been done: youth groups, teen Bible studies, and one on one relationships. Now, I’m not out to bag those ministries as there are certainly girls in the community, and even in our churches who don’t have a mum/dad alongside of them. The question is, what is my expectation in my own family?
Maybe because I have had a godly mentoring relationship with both my parents over many many years that I do see this to be a possibility. And from that experience I want to encourage Mums to stand up and be ready to stand along side their children in their adult years.
[Tweet “It maybe counter-cultural for parents to mentor their own teens but it is a part of family life.”]
Being a mentor is a voluntary situation – the student so to speak, has to want to learn from a teacher/mentor. I don’t automatically presume that I will be the influence in my girls (or boys) life. Certainly, when they were young this was the case. I was the parent. But as they grow older, I am still the parent, but our relationship changes, it grows. Most successful face to face mentoring happens out of a relationship. This is why it is so important to build a real relationship with our kids because out of our knowing each other comes a desire from the kids, to learn from us. Both my young adults have expressed this desire to continue to be discipled (mentored) by Peter and myself. What a blessing!
Some questions that I’ve been thinking about:
- How do I view mentoring in my family, as my children grow up?
- What is my expectation? My hope?
- Do I make room for others, or even encourage others, in my church to mentor/disciple their teens? Or do I see myself mentoring their teens?
- Am I building a relationship with my kids, where they will see me as a person they can turn to? A person that can have a lasting impact in their life?
If you would like to jump in with Lisa’s study then here is the link: More 2 Be Mentoring
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