Striving to create a home strong in the foundations of love, respect, and God's truths ...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Traits of a Good Mentor

Today I'm guest posting over at Titus 2 Moments, where each Wednesday Lauren features a woman who lives out Titus 2 and shows others the impact that we women have on each other.  If you'd like to learn more about my mentor and what our relationship looks like, visit Wednesday's Woman at Titus 2 Moments!

I've had different mentors at different stages of my life for different things - a mentor when I went through my confirmation class, a mentor/overseer as a new teacher - but the role of a Christian woman mentor is different from all of those.  It doesn't have to be as narrow or specific, although it can be, but a really great mentor is someone who shines in lots of different areas.  

If you're just beginning to pray for a mentor (and don't forget that important step!), then here are some things to consider:

  • Your mentor must be of the same gender.  This may seem silly, but the Bible is clear on that - and while you may need some cooking help and know a great male chef, men just have a different perspective than we do.  
  • A good mentor knows how to keep a confidence.  You can't trust somebody who slams on other people, and you don't want your private struggles shared with everyone on Facebook.  Be sure that the woman you choose to trust knows the difference between 'public' and 'private' information.
  • Old vs. wise?  A good mentor doesn't have to come with blue hair and Depression-era experience - though she might; but a good mentor must be someone who is further along in her journey than you.  If you're struggling with your teenager and need a sounding board, a mother of toddlers will not have the wisdom gained through experience that you need.  Same goes with marital advice or household organization.  Find someone who has practiced the skill or information you want to learn more about - that woman might have information you can use.
  • Having a mentor does not have to feel like school.  You don't have to meet twice weekly for lessons; in fact, my mentor didn't even realize that I considered her in this position until I was asked to write this post.  Your mentoring relationship can look like a really great friendship as you do life together naturally.  Of course, if you find yourself struggling with something out of the ordinary, you might prefer something more formal.  Like any other relationship, a mentoring one can change as your life changes, so you may have different needs at different times.
  • This may be one of the most important criteria of all:  Your mentor should not be a member of your family.  Yes, if you want to learn how to make a fabulous pie crust, ask Grandma; but if your need for mentorship goes deeper than that, find someone outside of your family circle for those discussions.  If, for example, you are experiencing a time of "intense fellowship" with your spouse and want to discuss this issue with someone else, you will (probably) get the topic off your chest, work it out with your spouse, and forget all about it - but your mother might not forgive the man who hurt her baby quite so quickly.  
God always knows what we need before we do, but He listens to our prayers whether they are specific or general; so why not ask specifically for the type of mentor you'd like? Let Him amaze you with the perfect match for you!

PS - Today is the last day to enter to win a copy of My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Software and a $10 gift certificate for their online store - a $50 value!  

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