We continue with our Noble Women Series. We started with part 1 where we defined the term Noble woman and concluded we each have the capacity to be a noble woman. In part 2, we drew lessons from the woman in Proverbs 31 and discovered we can still apply these in the 21st century.
This week we tackle the question Who is mentoring you on your journey to being a noble woman?
Mentoring is an old practice dating back in centuries past although it is getting more recognition today. We are told to “treat older women as our mothers and younger women as sisters”. Similarly, older women are urged to advise the younger women on their roles as wives and mothers as well as on their spiritual journey.
In mentoring there are two parties, the mentor who is usually a person experienced in a particular field. The role of the mentor is to act as an adviser, counsellor and nurture the professional and personal life of the mentee who in most cases is less experienced. The mentee must take the lead in identifying the mentor and the issues on which the advice of the mentor are sought.
Mentoring is usually confused with coaching but the two are different and should be treated as such. In coaching, the coach’s role is to assist the individual to uncover their own knowledge and skills and improve their performance and therefore lead a more fulfilled and productive life. Similarly, the coach takes the lead at all times and sets the specific goals and strategies to be used to achieve those goals. It is imperative to note however that in mentoring the mentor may draw from, and use techniques for coaching.
During my twenties I felt the need for a coach. I wanted someone who was a professional, a wife, mother and most importantly a devoted Christian. It was not until I was in my thirties that God brought such a person in my life. Most people shy away from mentoring because they do not know what considerations to make when choosing one. I share three things I considered when choosing a mentor.
A Mentor must Inspire You & Bring Out The Best In You
What I liked about my mentor was the way she conducted her affairs. She is a mother of three and I liked the relationship she had with her children and husband. She combined love and strictness when disciplining her children. These children have since grown and are now responsible young adults. I also liked the way she presented herself. She was always smart (okay a little overdressed sometimes). The way she performed her role of a helpmate reminded me of the sacrifice Ruth had made. It was as if like Ruth she had vowed to “go where he went and stay where he stayed”. I had just left my corporate job at the time and was struggling with accepting the fact that all I had to do then was stay at home. But the manner in which this woman carried herself encouraged me in more ways than one. She had in her a peace that defied the challenges of a professional who is a stay home mother and wife. She taught me God was in control and there was a purpose why he had chosen I be in that position at the time.
A Mentor Often Acts As A Sounding Board
I like to refer to my early and mid thirties as the years of dreams. I had so many dreams then. I have since learnt that “many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purposes that prevail”. Many times you need someone to test your views or plans and determine whether they are comprehensive, relevant and practical before you can implement them.
At the time I was determined to return home with the kids and leave my husband to work overseas. My mentor listened carefully to my plans and offered her advise. When she realised I was still adamant she gladly offered me Francine River’s Book The Scarlet Thread. This book tickled my emotions as I recognised my defiance in the main character. It also introduced me to journaling a practice I still enjoy today. It also led to my determination to one day share in the joy of quilting which I have since done.
Perhaps like me you are at a stage in your life where you are at cross roads or like Mary who was tasked with the responsibility of giving birth to our Lord and Saviour; you feel the responsibility is too much too bear. Mary reached out to her older Cousin Elizabeth and the words she said to her ” blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear” together with the conversations that followed may have been the reassurance she needed to carry out the task. I encourage you to reach out and get yourself a mentor.
A Mentor should be someone you too can influence.
We all know that “iron sharpens iron”. The mentoring process can be said to be a two-way street. As the mentee benefits from the mentor’s experience, the mentor in turn gains new insights and perspectives from the issues the mentee brings up for discussion. I recall on several occasions we were able to achieve much together. We embarked on a journey of getting back into the corporate world. We found a road block and chose to overcome it by going back to school. As a result, both of us have qualifications in Human Resource Management which are helping in our careers today. The icing on this cake was when we eventually got to work together in the Human Resources Department.
In addition to helping me grow, my mentor also let me know I had contributed to her own growth. Stephen Covey was right when he remarked, “when we perceive and acknowledge the potential of others, it is as if we hold up a mirror to them reflecting the best in them”. And further that “In everyone’s life at sometime our inner fire goes out, it then bursts into flames through an encounter with another human being. We should be grateful to the people who rekindle the inner spirit”.
The challenge we have is finding the right people who will rekindle our inner spirit. In my case am grateful for this encounter. Even if we now leave in different countries, we continue to enjoy our relationship as “we spur each other to good deeds”.
Your turn, have you had the experience of being mentored? what lessons can you share with us in the comments section.
In the last part of our Noble Women Series we shall go through a Poem by Maya Angelou and be reminded that indeed we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”.
Noble Women Series
The Role Of a Mentor (You are here)