April 06, 2010

Lessons from Mentoring

I am privileged to know some lovely ladies ~ college-age women ~ who are allowing me to make an investment in their lives and futures. Sometimes we call it discipling, sometimes mentoring or coaching. Each of these women want to follow Jesus, and so together we learn from Him and grow. Since I'm the older, more experienced one, it is my role to guide, challenge, question, encourage, and support these younger friends.
Though not professionally trained to mentor or coach, my husband and I both have college degrees and have successfully raised two sons. We've also been involved with college students for a nearly three decades. This gives me confidence that I have something of value to offer these women. I'm a committed life-long-learner, and relish learning with them, as well as sharing my life with them.
And so, I have learned:
*The most important gift I bring "to the table" is a heart that is passionately confident in the potential of each of these women... and a heart that is passionately concerned with their personal growth and development.
*Each of these women has an unfolding story; a story that needs to be told and heard...and retold and heard again.
*As women tell and retell their stories, they hear truth echoing in their own lives, and I can help them hear what they might not hear by themselves.
*Asking questions communicates respect; listening carefully to the answers communicates even more respect.
*It's not where we're at in the journey that matters as much as the direction we're going.
*I prefer being a sounding board to being an advisory board.
*Giving advice very sparingly is good advice.
*I am not responsible for the choices of others.
*I do not need to be intimidated by someone half my age.
*I do need to apologize when I have (even unintentionally) offended others.
*I have what most women want, and can help them figure out how to get it.
*If I don't have what they want, I can help them decide what goals they do want to pursue.
*One of my priorities is helping them discover, understand, and embrace who they are in Christ.
*Relationships are my highest value. They matter far more to me than what we "cover."
*Mentoring is alot like raising children; it's just not as expensive or time-consuming, nor do I lose as much sleep.
*The sweetness of my marriage gives me a platform for mentoring.
*Women love to talk! Most women think by talking.
*Talking is always more enjoyable with something to drink, and usually more enjoyable with something to eat.
*Creating a safe place for young women to think out loud about life is worthwhile.
*Spending time together in my home meets intangible needs.
*Praying together is just about as sweet as it gets this side of heaven.
*We learn best what we are hungry, even desperate to know.
*I can create a hunger in others for Truth by sharing my own hunger.
*Helping these women be interdependent, rather than dependent or independent, gives them stability.
*By refreshing others, I am indeed refreshed!