Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mentoring Isn't Always Easy

The church we attend chartered a Mothers of Preschoolers chapter about six or seven years ago.  The chapter began with eight moms and has grown to 50 plus moms and 60 plus preschoolers ranging in age from infants to 4 years.  In addition, two additional groups have begun meeting under the auspices of MomsNEXT, a group founded by MOPS for those moms who have "graduated" from being a mother of preschooler(s) to having children in school. 

Each of these three groups has one or more Mentor Moms.  This is loosely defined as a woman of faith, who has children and/or grandchildren, who has been there, done that,  and who fits the bill as a wiser, older woman, or a WOW.  I am one of those Mentor Moms for the preschoolers group.  I mentor 8 moms of preschoolers this year, and sometimes it isn't easy.  You find that you don't know how to answer a specific question, especially if it applies to today in an area that didn't exist when you were a mom raising children, or relates to an opportunity that a mom has that would have never come your way in the day.  This happened just this past Friday morning.

One of my moms is an audiologist for newborns.  Because she is a mother, she looked for and found a hospital willing to hire her as a part-time employee so she could be with her girls in the afternoon after school.  The hospital has an affiliation with a non-profit service organization that travels internationally teaching doctors, nurses and others about audiology needs and services.  This young mother has been invited to go to a country in Asia, into the jungle where there are villages in need of this specific educational offer.  She would be teaching others how to look for and be aware of an infant's audiological needs and how to provide them.

Her question came to the table unexpectedly on Friday.  There were  four other moms and me present, and when she asked her question, there was resounding positive feedback immediately.  No question about it -- she shouldn't miss this opportunity.  She shared that her husband is very supportive.  However, she is hesitant to be gone for a month, away from her girls, in a rather remote location.  I completely understood her concerns.  Yet, this opportunity may never come her way again.  I applauded her young peers for being so supportive and encouraging.  I held back, as a good mentor will do, and let them finish their discussion.  I then suggested that she seek counsel from our pastor, who is a mother and who has traveled to the same area.

Today I felt affirmed by God when I saw our pastor and this young woman in conversation.  The mom raised her hand and motioned me over.  She then told the pastor that I had suggested she talk with her, and she told me that my advice had been good for her.  Here was a person who had traveled extensively even when she had small children.  Our pastor could talk with her on a level I couldn't.

It is often necessary and best to seek wise and good counsel from someone else before giving advice that goes beyond your life experience. 

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