I know, I know. You have one million things on your plate, the highest priority of which falls to mothering your own precious babies. And now someone’s telling you, in addition to cooking nutritious meals, shuttling kids from one activity to the next, keeping a clean-enough house and cultivating your own passions and purpose, you also need to find someone to mentor?
Yes, yes I am.
Because our responsibility and privilege as women is to pour into the next generation – to intentionally and consistently pass the baton of values, morals and feminine strength forward. Growing into womanhood is hard. We all remember the wobbles, missteps and challenges that shaped our own unique coming-of-age narratives. We owe it to our younger sisters, from all backgrounds, cultures and demographics, to shine the light that hindsight offers as they navigate their way.
I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by honest, loving, older women—the kind of mentors who will reach around and fix your collar if it’s standing up weird in the back—the kind who will tell you when you’ve got a little sprig of lunch stuck between your teeth—the kind who care more about you than about how you feel about them. They tell you the truth. They shoot you straight.
Because they love you. For real.
Can you imagine navigating your teenage years without those kinds of friends?
Maybe you can. Because you did. If so, you know more than anyone how much more clear-headed you may have been if there had been another woman willing to provide a compass for you.
Instead, many of us were forced to make our own way, either because no one was there for us or maybe we were just too thick-headed to listen. In either case, the trouble with being our own independent navigator is that a young person has blind spots. Even with long camera rolls of selfies on her phone and more ways that ever before to help her see herself in 360-degree perspective, somehow she can still not clearly see that an attitude she’s taking, or a decision she’s considering, or a flirtation with a compromise that she’s entertaining may carry a hefty consequences that she won’t want to deal with later on in life.
What if she just needs someone to tell her – to show her from their own experience – that a path she is taking or a relationship she is choosing is unhealthy and toxic and problematic? What if it’s riskier and more rebellious than she has considered? What if it’s going to cost her more in the end than she ever thought she’d have to pay? Maybe to another person’s careful eye (cough, cough…yours), the same decision that seems so tame and innocent to her now will begin to glare with the warning signs that it really warrants.
You—wise, experienced mama—can be the difference maker for her. You can help her navigate this crazy, twisted road we call womanhood. You can change her life by letting her into yours. You can make it your business to weigh in, offer advice, share insight, point the way to safety and be there to break her fall when she stumbles along the way.
Even when she pretends not to listen.
Truth is, many won’t appreciate the value of a mentor’s guidance. I most certainly didn’t when I was a teenager. I thought I knew it all and could take care of myself just fine without anyone else’s help, thank you. I was often too full of myself to listen, receive and apply wise counsel to my life. I paid dearly. Because the truth is pride always has a way of costing you in the end. And yet, I am still grateful for the women that kept lending their support even when I wasn’t as appreciative as I should have been for it. As a result, I had a safe place to land, and the truth of their words ringing deep down in my heart.
Be that woman for a young girl in your life. Don’t let her miss out on the importance of an un-biased third party who’s been there, done that, and gotten ALL of those t-shirts.
And that really is what mentorship is all about. Simply put, a mentor is someone who is willing to share their experience with another for the purpose of teaching and enhancing. Perfection isn’t part of the job description. If you’ve learned some lessons, garnered some character, fortified your integrity and have the gift of hindsight on your side, you’re hired for this job. Immediately.
The generation behind you is waiting for you to clock in.
So, even while you rear the children underneath the roof of your own house, keep your eyes peeled for others that just might warm the corners of your heart. The young lady who, for reasons you might not be able to explain, is endearing to you. You might already know who she is, or your paths may not have yet crossed. But you will. There are so many young sisters who are longing for the attentive care of a wiser, older woman. And though you can’t reach them all, together we can reach one at a time.
Priscilla Shirer is wife to Jerry and mom to three rapidly growing boys. She’s a powerful Bible teacher, speaker and author of numerous bestselling books and Bible studies. Her new book, RADIANT, is available now and a companion resource for the movie OVERCOMER.