What Does it Take to be a Mentor?

Recently, while we were vacationing with our family and my daughter's new in-laws, her mother-in-law shared how she believes the Lord wants her to become more involved in mentoring younger women.

Her dilemma is that she hopes to be moving this year and does not know if she should begin mentoring women in her present church or wait until she moves and establishes relationships with a new group of women.

My daughter has mentored two teen girls over the last two or three years and two of my sons have sought mentors. I have observed several things.

  • A mentor has to be willing to commit their time. There is no way to mentor without meeting together regularly. I suppose this can also be done via telephone or email. However, there seems to be something about communicating face-to-face that encourages trust and bonding.
  • Praying for your mentored person is a necessary component of the relationship. It is easy for us to respond with our own advice, but God's council could be very different.
  • Let them talk. A few years ago I met with a young homeschool mom who wanted advice regarding how to organize her homeschool day and still maintain a reasonably clean home. As we met and spoke for several hours over coffee, it became apparent that her real need was help with the relationship between she and her husband. If I had immediately charged in and began giving advice, she might never have gotten to the root of the problem she really needed help with.
  • Be consistent. If you plan to meet every week, set the time aside and treat it as an unbreakable date otherwise every life interruption becomes a reason not to meet and the relationship falls apart.
  • Treat your mentoree with respect. They might be decades younger than you or just a few years, but that does not make you a life expert. A mentor is a guide, a support, and an encourager, not a prophet from on high.
My daughter continues to mentor a high school student, her other mentoree has gone on to college. Both of these lovely young women contributed toward making her wedding day special by assisting with various small tasks.

My sons? Not so much success. The men they met with, men they respected and admired did not follow through for very long. Meetings were cancelled and my sons were not contacted. They both felt rejected and undervalued. The saddest part is that my sons felt these were both strong men of faith who they hoped would help guide them in their walk with Christ. I continue to pray for committed mentors for all three of my sons because while parents are great, being able to talk to another mature adult with a different perspective is invaluable.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, mentoring is so important, but GOOD mentoring is even more important. It IS a time commitment, but so worthwhile. Often we learn from others just as often as they learn from us. Thanks for sharing!