It began as a high school requirement for my children, something every incoming freshman had to do because administrators at my children’s Christian school said so:
Find a mentor.
Beyond meeting monthly through the school year, guidelines were intentionally loose. Activities didn’t have to be necessarily spiritual; the more important goal was to build relationship, to give the student another adult voice who would speak truth into his or her life beside their parents.
Enter Jessi, and two years later, Jason. I learned that sometimes Jesus has black curly hair and gorgeous eyes fringed in feather dusters, and sometimes He is ruddy and red-headed and can run like the wind.
My daughter would eventually leave the Christian school after her sophomore year; my son, after his freshman. But long after it was dictated by school requirement, Jason and Jessi continued to mentor my children. Each had taken their mentor role seriously, not as a school requirement but as a Jesus-following investment in people.
Their significant, life-affecting and eternal impact in the lives of not just my children, but our entire family, is why I can’t help but–
- strongly encourage all parents to seek out a mentor for their teenagers, and
- gently ask you to consider mentoring a teen
Three Benefits of Having a Mentor
 Increased sense of worth.
The time a mentor spends with your teen is invaluable because it says to the child “YOU are valuable.” A parent “has” to love his child; a mentor chooses to. This is one of those intangibles your teenager will likely never realize, but the impact is real.
 It really takes a village.
Raising children might just be the hardest job on the planet; that’s why it helps to have help! A mentor can act as a silent partner in crime, reinforcing what is important to you. It’s crucial to find a mentor who shares your same values, and to maintain open lines of communication.
Though you might have shared a piece of advice 100 times with your child, he might not hear it until someone else says it. Likewise, another adult sharing the same advice will underscore the credibility of the parent.
And sometimes, your child just needs someone safe other than you to talk to, pray with, and process life.
 Challenged is, challenged does.
A mentor can broaden your child’s world. Introducing her to thinking critically about issues you haven’t thought about discussing at home, or maybe even trying new activities–a trustworthy, committed mentor sharing his time, talents and experiences with your teen can motivate her beyond her comfort zone.
IF you’re interested, I’ve published a companion piece to today’s (in)post–Three Important Considerations for Establishing a Mentor Relationship and Three Important Considerations for Becoming a Mentor.
It’s not likely we would have pursued mentor relationships for our children aside from the school requirement; we simply had never thought to! But after seeing the impact and difference it has made in my kids’ lives, I hope to get you more than just thinking about it…!
Have you ever had a mentor invest in your life? Have you mentored others in a one-on-one relationship? Please share your thoughts about the benefits of having a mentor.
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By Robin Dance, author of PENSIEVE and who believes YOU’VE got what it takes!Leave a Comment
Mentoring has been on my heart lately. Looking back, I know I would have benefited from having a mentor, but I didn’t. It’s on my heart to have a mentor myself now in my twenties and also to be a mentor. Yesterday, I featured on my blog a ministry that offers information/resources for women who want to mentor and young women who want to be mentored. It’s an awesome ministry: http://www.moretobe.com
Robin Dance says
I love how you want to be a giver AND a receiver! Thanks, too, for sharing that link; I’ll be sure to check it out :).
Do you hve a link for the companion pieces about considerations for mentoring relationships and becoming a mentor?
Robin Dance says
Gee, Cathy….BIG oops! Thank you for asking!!!
(I tried to add the link to my post, but since it published I can’t edit :(. I’ll email our administrators and see if they’ll do it for me!!)
Wow-what a fantastic idea!
Mentoring is a necessary component to healthy human development. I pray people into my children’s lives because I understand that there are others which must also be the wind beneath their wings, expand their horizons, and reinfoce the faith we walk in daily. Yet, as adults we also need mentors, other women that can show us the way, speak health and vitality into our emotional, spiritual, and everyday lives. I would not be half the woman I am had it not been for mentors who sought me out, and whom I sought out. Thanks for this wonderful insight!
Robin Dance says
floralba, I remember dying on the inside when I was a young mother for a woman a few years ahead of me to seek me out. I was too shy to ask for help, but I was desperate. As my children get older, it’s something I want to be intentional about (and funny, I’m still shy but on the other side!!).
Mindy vG says
This July I hosted a “Titus Woman Mentor Brunch…a Royal Sisterhood Celebration!” Attire was ” Summertime Girly Fun”. I had it at a fancy B&B. Orange & Pink flowers were the centerpieces-gifts to take home later 🙂 Oooh it was such FUN! I moved to Germany in Aug, for 2 yrs. w/my family . I wanted to honor these ladies before I left. (b/c you never know what plans God has up his sleeve! ) I was blessed to have 7 Mentors & 2 Best Friends attend. (2 Pastor Wives, 1 adopted Grandma, 1 Entrepreneur coach, 1 Prayer Minister/Counselor, plus my Mom & Mom-in-law). I gave them each a ‘soaking’ music cd too. (Kimberly & Alberto Rivera “We will Run”) But probably the most valuable thing (I’m hoping!) were the words of affirmation I was able to speak over them, for who they were & the important role they had played in my life. Sometimes women don’t realize the important life-empowering words they speak into others hearts! For moms at home, especially, to hear that their counsel & encouragement truly changed a life–I believe is HUGE. I intend to pay it forward with the people HE drops in my lap. Why not host your own little get-together to honor the people who have mentored you? If you don’t have a mentor…ask Jesus to send you one!! Thank you Robin for this wonderful post!
Robin Dance says
Oh mah word, girlieQ…you ARE blessed! To have SEVEN mentors to honor? Wow. TRUE blessing. Yes! Paying it forward is lovely…and I’d dare say Biblical (that’s pretty much what Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 2…..
Your enthusiasm and challenge is inspiring. THANK you! 🙂
Kristen Strong says
Holy smokes, Robin! My man and I were just talking about this! Thank you for sharing why mentors are important, and for doing so with clarity. L*O*V*E!
And BTW? I totally consider you a mentor~especially related to all things parenting! You got it goin’ on, girl!
Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) says
As a near 30 year old my mentor plays a huge role in my life. I have learned so much from my mentor and have been so inspired by her example. When we have children of our own this is definitely something I want to implement in their lives. I believe all teens needs a solid mentor, outside of their parents, as an extra source of support and guidance.
Mentoring. That’s what my life has been about. Older women mentoring me. My investment in mentoring teens. Those teens mentoring my own children. It has had such a profound effect on my life that it is no wonder God has brought it all together at http://www.moretobe.com.