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Reviving The Lost Art of Mentoring




The concept of mentoring is often focused on mentoring youth,  And while it is admittedly an important and somewhat neglected activity in our society, a terrific sermon I heard awhile back on the concept of discipleship got me to thinking about “us women.”

In today's society, mentoring, thankfully, is experiencing a welcome resurgence. If you're on the fence, here are some easy ways to just. get. STARTED!

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Many years ago, as a young wife and mother, I sought out some older Christian women in my life to mentor me.  I have to admit, I did so with much hesitancy and a little bit of fear.  I knew I needed and wanted some spiritual direction in those roles, and living so far from my own family, also needed some practical, day-to-day guidance about, well, honestly, about ‘most everything!  But I really had no idea how to ask for that level of investment and intimacy.

Then a few years later a church we attended started a big mentoring program for women.  They sent out surveys…had meetings…sponsored events…all with the express intent of getting women together to mentor each other.  It was a big deal!  By that time I was a somewhat, um, older woman, and was excited about the possibility of mentoring someone younger.

But the whole process got so complicated…

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…

Why Mentoring Is So Important

Although there are usually  “older-younger” or “experienced-novice” parties involved, 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, their personal life, their spiritual life or their marriage… Here are the  “Top 5” benefits mentoring enables us to both exercise and experience:

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 – To take things step further, we can actually learn skills and wisdom from each other, whether it’s something brand new, or improving or deepening what we already do or already believe…

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 can 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.

Challenge – And 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”.

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 unequipped 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 get involved in being (or having) a mentor?

…which is a really easy question to answer!

Step 1: Pick up the phone.

Step 2: Call a friend and ask them to lunch, or coffee, or a walk…

Step 3: 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 probably imagine!

But if you’re looking for a terrific tool to help you get your head around this concept for yourself, let me introduce you to my friend, Sue. Her book “Table Mentoring: A Simple Guide to Coming Alongside” is written as I would imagine a conversation with her 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 (me!) over any perceived hurdles to just. get. STARTED!

And for those who might need a bit more confidence-building, she also includes various worksheets, inspiring quotes, prayers from Scripture, suggested further reading, and other tidbits in the back of the book.

Just add a fresh pan of brownies, a pot of hot coffee (or tea!) and a heart hungry for someone to come alongside… And you can find her book here on Amazon.

Have an experience to share or question to ask?  We’re all here for each other, so please feel free to leave them in the comments below 🙂

This post is part of a 5-part series called Rest and Refreshment for Homeschool Moms. Each article offers a simple but unique ways for moms to find “just the thing” to recharge and take care of themselves! Here’s the complete line-up:

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Discover some great bloggers when you take a look at the wonderful link parties we participate in! And bloggers, please add YOUR parties here, too!!

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Pat

Pat is a Yankee city-girl who has been adopted by the sleepy, sunny south. Married for 30 years and the mother of 5, she woke up one day recently to discover she reached the stage of life where she is the “older woman” described in Titus 2:3-5. A coffee lover, the purchase of a coffee shop a few years ago was her personal foray into the small, family-owned business arena.Today, PatAndCandy.com is her outlet for packaging up and sharing the nuggets of wisdom God and life experiences have taught her.
Pat
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18 Responses to Reviving The Lost Art of Mentoring

  1. Sue September 7, 2017 at 1:25 am #

    Thx Pat. It’s amazing to read of so many different experiences people have had with mentoring. I’m glad my little book stirred up some great thoughts. Wondering what God has in store for you? You mentor your homeschool community so beautifully! Thx for being my friend and supporting my book❤️

    • Pat September 7, 2017 at 9:00 am #

      And I can’t wait to see what God has in store as it unfolds! I love the Bible verse you chose referring to the subtitle: how God comes alongside us. He is the perfect mentor, no?! I love how He so sweetly gives us a pattern – directions, if you will – to gently come alongside others…
      It’s easy to support your book, Sue; it’s a wonderful tool to have!
      Appreciate you stopping by…

  2. GoMama247 September 4, 2017 at 1:40 pm #

    This art of mentoring is new to me and it is really amazing. Helping each other is always a good way to build stronger and deeper relationships.
    GoMama247 recently posted…Best Stainless Steel Bottle for Baby and Toddlers: Pura KikiMy Profile

    • Pat September 5, 2017 at 10:07 pm #

      Yes it is! I was so blessed to have a few wonderful mentors in my life when I was a young mom, and I always feel so privilege when I get to walk alongside new moms or new homeschoolers these days. God is so good, and has such a wonderfully creative way of working these things out…

  3. KellyRBaker February 22, 2017 at 1:51 pm #

    Thank you for reminding us that mentoring doesn’t have to be complicated!

  4. Beth July 22, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

    I feel like that has become much of my role at my church, Pat. My husband and I are both “mentoring” other younger husbands and wives. I’m amazed sometimes by the hunger that these young couples have to learn and soak up all that we’ve learned along the way in the “school of hard knocks!” I don’t think I was looking for that often enough when I was their age. Maybe my marriage wouldn’t have been so messy, if I’d simply sought someone out. Thanks for your challenge to all of us, my friend! It’s much-needed in the day and age we live in, for sure!

  5. Terri Presser July 18, 2015 at 8:02 am #

    Thank you for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. I really enjoy talking to older woman and learning from them. Blessings

    • Pat July 18, 2015 at 1:40 pm #

      You’re welcome, Terri; thanks for hosting it! I do, too, ‘cept not too long I realized i had become the “older woman”! It’s not really so bad…just took some time to get used to – LOL!

  6. Maria Hass July 18, 2015 at 2:15 am #

    I totally agree we need a mentor! And we should be mentors too! You stirred my heart with this post. I have been praying for this! I have personally great mentors from church that hold me accountable and encourage me. I’m noticing a problem with younger (but still adult) women who feel like “they ain’t got time for that” and don’t seem to want to be teachable to the other women or don’t have the time for anyone but friends their own age. I don’t think this is wise! Or Biblical! Thank you for sharing your heart, I’ll be sharing too!

    • Pat July 18, 2015 at 7:59 am #

      Oh Maria, that is so wonderful that you have found terrific mentors in your church! Surprisingly, I’ve found the opposite, tho. Our church had a women’s meeting specifically on that topic a few months ago and only TWO older women showed up 🙁 Sadly, nothing’s been done to move ahead on this issue (that I know of), but I think we are just ALL “too busy” these days.
      I find it so ironic, too, given that all our modern conveniences and technology are supposed to make our life easier, and instead just gives us more stuff to handle…and at the same time disconnects us from others!
      Off my soapbox now, but glad this spoke to you! Keep mentoring on 😉

  7. Audra Silva July 12, 2015 at 2:49 pm #

    Mentoring is so valuable for both people involved I think. I have a sweet older woman who has teaches me various needlecrafts. What a wonderful post. 🙂

    • Pat July 13, 2015 at 7:39 am #

      I’ll bet you have some terrific conversations while working together, too! Glad you enjoyed it…have a great week!!

  8. Sarah Donegan July 12, 2015 at 1:24 pm #

    I love your words here! I have always gravitated toward older people to learn from them and have lately been thinking God wants me to start being the mentor. What an honor that would be.

    • Pat July 13, 2015 at 7:38 am #

      It’s amazing, Sarah, how God will just put people in your path if you’re open and willing! I used to think that you had to be “older” to be a mentor, but really, the only requirement is an open heart! God can use us at whatever point we’re at to help someone who may be struggling!
      It is quite an honor, and I pray that He will bless you in that soon 🙂

  9. Laurie Collett July 10, 2015 at 9:27 pm #

    Excellent post! When I began teaching a ladies’ Bible study, I was mentored by a dear Christian lady who had taught ladies for many years. She is still a wonderful friend and prayer partner, and I am blessed to have her as my mentor! Linked up with you at Big Family Frugal — hope you’ll stop by Saved by Grace for a visit!
    God bless,
    Laurie

    • Pat July 11, 2015 at 9:29 am #

      So glad you found us, Laurie! Following your blog and looking forward to more inspiration! I’d love for you to share your posts with our own readers, too, on our Wednesday “Coffee and Conversation” – I know they’d be blessed!
      Have a great weekend!

  10. Caroline July 9, 2015 at 12:09 pm #

    There is so much truth to this! I’m so thankful for my spiritual mentor! It truly does make a difference to have solid believers in my life who can speak TRUTH!

    • Pat July 9, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

      And I believe it’s just as important for believers to come along side non-believing friends, as well. What a gift of love to “do life” with another woman/mom and show them the love of Jesus! 🙂

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