I am the mom of eight children—two adults, four teenagers (as of today) and two tweens. Because of the uniqueness of adoption, I have been parenting children from newborns to adults for the past 17 years. During that time, I have had some amazing women as mentors, most important, my own mother. I have been so grateful for the advice, direction, and encouragement of other women as I have walked this strange and confusing journey of mothering.
What is a mentor?
A mentor is one who goes before. It is a person who is experienced and trusted. It is a person who takes the time and care necessary to guide with wisdom. We all need this person in our lives and we all need to be this person. We might feel unqualified to lead and unsure of where to begin. We first begin with encouragement. Think of what a mother does for her toddler who is just beginning to stand alone. Does she advise and correct? Nope. She delights and encourages her child with enthusiasm. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone overflow with joy over your accomplishments? Wouldn’t it be nice to encourage someone else with this overflow of joy? You can! You are absolutely qualified to encourage someone, especially another mother. We need that from each other so much.
I was sitting in a coffee shop the other day with my three youngest sons. If you follow me on social media you know that my sons are energetic, curious, funny, and a little bit wild (in a good way, of course). They love to be outdoors. They love to run, play, invent, and get dirty. They aren’t really coffee shop sitting kind of kids. Nonetheless, there we were. I was scrambling to meet a writing deadline, so I implored them to have a snack, read a book, talk quietly, and give me a little space to focus. I was delighted to find that they did just that. I flew through writing and they only interrupted me a few times to tell me things like, “Did you know that penguins mate for life?” or “Would you rather have elastic arms or have the power of invisibility?” By the way, I’d rather have elastic arms…obviously.
Two hours later, I was just getting ready to pack my bag, when a grey haired woman walked past and slipped this paper onto the table next to me:
Then she exited without a word. The power in that action is still filling me today.
That woman wasn’t my mentor in the sense of building a trusting relationship, but she did encourage me, giving me strength to carry on. She allowed her praise to fill me and make me feel good, and in turn, made my boys feel good too! She reserved judgment about my family and chose to focus on encouragement.
Friends, today I encourage you to reach out to another mom and tell her she is doing a good job. Tell her that her children are good and that you like her family. Point out something specific that you appreciate about her. Your words will have a lasting effect, I guarantee it.
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
Proverbs 25:11 ESV
Lord, Please show me how to encourage those around me. Please give me the words to use so that someone else can have the strength to continue being a good mother today. Amen