Does your daughter have someone she can talk to? Someone you trust to give her sound advice? Someone she believes cares about her? Someone she doesn’t mind opening up to? If so, excellent! If for some reason, your answer was no, I’d like to persuade you to help her identify a mentor quickly. Why does she need your help? She may need your help because she doesn’t recognize the value, see the need, or feel bold enough to initiate the relationship. Is this something you’ve modeled? Do you have a mentor or do you mentor someone (other than your own children) that she knows about?
When I was growing up, I had family and family friends who would have willingly acted as a mentor, but I never took advantage of the opportunity because I never saw the need. I was too busy trying to think through my issues with boys, friends, body image, and finances to think about getting a mentor or remaining in contact with one. Or so I thought. I didn’t realize that talking with someone older, more mature (because everyone older isn’t always more mature) would have helped me process the other stuff.
Mentors benefit our lives in a variety of ways:
- Mentors listen with your best interests in mind. They don’t take sides. They empathize with you, but they help you to see the side you may be missing to help you think more clearly about the situation.
- Mentors share their perspective from a bird’s eye view of the situation because they’ve been there, done that in some way, shape, or form and they have a heightened awareness of how it could work out…or not…
- Mentors keep it real because there’s no other option. They can share what they’ve dealt with in ways that will lead us to see ourselves in their humanity without holding it over their heads at a later date. One of the most painful memories I have as a teenager is bringing something back up that my mom told me in confidence to hurt her because I was too immature to handle the information.
- Mentors will check in on the situation without causing us to become defensive because they don’t benefit or suffer from the result and our suspicions aren’t raised about their motive.
- Mentors motivate you to make healthier choices and attain greater achievements because you begin to take their advice based upon the outcomes you see in their lives. It’s true that our closest family members have also made significant accomplishments (like Mom), but mentors motivate us because we see the representation they present to us. Let’s be honest, sometimes the private issues others deal with distance us from the desire to enjoy similar accomplishments more than drive us toward them.
All in all, mentors help us to feel free to open up. I want to encourage you to pray about who could take the place of your daughters’ mentor or your own if you don’t have one. Think carefully and proceed cautiously so that you can be sure she’s in a healthy place and interested in participating as the mentor. Next time, we’ll look at some tips to help her maximize those mentorship moments. Talk back to me, I’d love to know if you see additional value in having a mentor that I haven’t thought about!