Back in my working professional days, I had a mentor who met with me often. She and I actually befriended one another through a women’s group at church, so not only did we have our careers in common, we also shared a similar faith tradition. Sometimes our chats happened over a coffee date. Other times we made a jailbreak from our offices and met for lunch. Then there were the occasional let’s-skip-out-an-hour-early-and-enjoy-a-nice-libation-while-lounging-on-some-restaurant’s-patio type of get together. Those were fun!
My friend is fifteen years older than me yet I never felt like she viewed herself as the seasoned professional and me the new kid on the block. Given we both worked in male-dominated fields, she was a terrific sounding board and cheerleader. Her femininity was a breath of fresh air, a constant reminder that the board rooms and council chambers I sat in could greatly benefit from my womanly approach to problem solving. Our conversations were balanced, equal parts talking and listening. Advice given, advice received. I like to think that my friend received as much out of our talks as I did. We even occasionally discussed how I just might be a good candidate to succeed her once she retired. But those succession plans took a detour when I was the first to “retire” to stay at home full-time with my babies. When I made that decision, our frequent mentoring meetings then also retired. And as I write those words, I realize just how much I miss those chats with my friend. Now that our chats are over, I miss growing from her wisdom. I miss our “professional” conversations.
My mind has wandered back to those days after recently listening to the IF:Gathering podcast on inter-generational relationships. My mentor and I were blessed with the very kind of inter-generational relationship discussed on that podcast. Since leaving the workforce, however, I’ve noticed that mentoring relationships for at-home moms aren’t as organic and naturally occurring as they were in the professional world. I agree with the opinions shared on the podcast that women are indeed craving mentoring relationships.
So what’s the point of all this? Honestly, I’m not quite sure (brilliant, Schmidt, brilliant!). I’m tossing around some thoughts and I’d like to hear about your experiences with faith-based mentoring, especially for the at-home moms in the crowd. Do you have a mentor? Conversely, are you a mentor? How did your relationship begin? How has the relationship benefited your life?
Copyright 2014, Lisa Schmidt