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Mentorship advice

Discussion in 'Christian Advice' started by nikki79, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. nikki79

    nikki79 New Member

    I really need some advice here. I want to share a few text messages between a mentor and her mentoree.
    The "younger" gal is feeling very inadequate while the "older" gal feels the younger is just giving a lot of excuses and is capable of more. The younger is laid back, quiet and reserved while the older woman is very talkative, easily expresses her opinions and a go-geter.
    I'm being vague here because I really want advice based on the text and what your impression is without being one sided. Thoughts and opinions appreciated.
    Here are the texts:

    Younger lady:
    Hey lady!
    Was thinking about something you said last night, once during the movie and once afterward. When you noticed I didn't cry during the movie you said, "You're just too young!"
    I know you didn't mean anything bad by that, and it was all fun...I totally understand. But the movie did leave an impact on me and there's perhaps more depth to me than I often times show around you. I knew that movie would be hard to watch because my biggest fear (the fear that trumps all other fears) is that someone will snatch my child and do harm to her (just like the little girl in the movie) I was raped as a child and I wasn't much older than my little girl when it happened, so that has been a huge stronghold in my life....which is why I can count on one hand how many people I trust to watch her. Anyway, I don't tell you that to gain sympathy or anything... i just don't want you to assume because I am younger than you that I lack depth or experience, or even knowledge. One of these days I'll take my guards down around you, but often times you are very strong in your opinions and I am not strong enough in mine! You always have an answer for things and I don't. And I feel like a big dummy sometimes! Haha! ;)
    Anyway, just wanted to share that with you. The movie has been on my mind all day. .
    Also, I haven't had a chance to tell you yet with all you've had going on with your car, and me feeling weary about it all, but we had a health scare with my daughter on her dr's apt earlier this week, and we have some decisions to make in the next few weeks. Our doctor out East was concerned about the possibility of Lymphoma (aka: cancer) during one of her last apts there, and this new doctor here (without knowing much of her medical history) voiced the same concern. So we have some decisions to make within the next few weeks about a "plan of action" to at least rule it out. I'm sure it's nothing, but my heart feels heavy because I don't want to put her through unnecessary tests and surgical biopsy's, but we need to do something! Anyway this is waaay too heavy for a text! Haha! We'll talk more later. . . Bye! ;)

    Older lady:
    Sweet Girl - apologies for this very abbreviated, overly simplified answer, yet I didn't want you to think I missed your text,
    ... which have examples of why I made the "too young" comment.

    It has nothing to do with what we've experienced - ALL to do with how we process it. ;)
    You're trying way too hard to compare yourself (& "compete") with me - not wise - not your purpose - not the way to measure your worth.

    It's really lovely to have friends who have more life experience in "processing" (believe me, I know), if you can humbly accept your life experiences as not unique.

    I have empathy for both of your consuming reveals (& I'll listen when you want to talk about each), but not fair for you to bring those up for the first time mixed in as "proof" of maturity. ;)

    Younger lady:
    I'm not trying to compare or compete...I'm simply trying to find a damn spot! But you have all the answers, every time. Measuring my self worth--yeah I can TOTALLY agree with you there. I do that a lot and it's not good!
    Also, I honestly don't find my past or experiences that "unique", nor was I trying to prove how "mature" I was. You missed my whole point, but then again I am not the best communicator.
    You're not the first "mature" friend or mentor I've had....so I can appreciate those friendships, which is why I sought you out in the beginning....but if you can only hear yourself ("Believe me, I 'know'), you sound like you have all the answers and I have so much to learn from you (which in turn makes me feel like I have nothing to offer you!)
    Anyway I gotta run toots! Lemme know if you need a ride tonight.

    Older woman:
    That was waaaay too quick of a reply, hence seems ...
    you didn't spend any time reflecting on the content, mostly argued defensively,
    gave more excuses,
    and are now going on the offense, accusing me of a tone that wasn't there.
    This was a mistake to handle through textng, and yes, I "knew" better. ;)

    End of texts
  2. david.d

    david.d Member

    I feel like the mentor may not have enough in common with the younger person or doesn't know how to convey her message in a way that connects with the younger. Those are extremely important for a mentorship. It is good to have relationships with people older and even younger than you, to help you grow, but a mentor is someone that can connect with you at a level unlike even a best friend. As someone in the military, my mentor relationships have mainly been professional, but even then, there has to be a connection and a commonality that gives the mentorship meaning to both individuals. Believe it or not, mentors learn and grow from mentorships as well. I would seek a new mentor and just maintain a good friendship. We grow in many different ways.
  3. ValleyGal

    ValleyGal Well-Known Member

    How did these two connect as mentor/mentee? Did it happen naturally or was it set up by a third party?

    I think it is reasonable to say that both have good intentions, so that is a good starting point and reconciling the miscommunications. That's all that's likely happened - miscommunication. Young did not mean to sound defensive, but older reads it as defense, etc. Breakdown in communication. Imo, texting, especially long ones, are not an effective way of discussing things in a mentoring relationship. It is way too easy to miss the micro-communications, and then misunderstandings like this can happen.

    Imo, the younger should suggest the two get together and actually start the whole conversation over and talk it out face to face.
  4. Greg J.

    Greg J. Well-Known Member Supporter

    How does the mentor's church define mentoring? The mentor in this case is not mentoring. The younger woman appears to be blameless and the older woman doesn't have the right spirit to be a mentor. It is understandable (and grievous) if there are not enough good mentors around, in which case the mentor needs to be following guidelines strictly. Among them are: have an accepting spirit. A mentor is a stand-in for Jesus Christ. They must resist trying to make the younger into their own likeness. They are also not to be making them into Jesus' likeness! (That's something only the Holy Spirit can do.) Basically, the mentor's job is to help the younger with the younger person's own efforts to know Jesus. In all other respects the mentor needs to understand that what Jesus is like and what the body of Christ is like is going to be defined to the younger women by what the mentor is like.

    Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. (James 3:1, 1984 NIV)

    The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. (1 Timothy 5:17, 1984 NIV)

    A mentor is firmly in the role of an elder for that younger person. Ideally, the mentor will meet all of the stiff qualifications. The qualification of having raised a family well comes to mind as parallel. How good a job would the mentor do if she had to preach on Sunday? She is already doing the same thing for an individual, except it has greater impact on that individual than than if the teaching came in the form of a sermon.

    It is not a bad idea to have each of the church's mentors also be mentored by someone who has also proven their ability to mentor mentors (something a small percentage of older people can do).
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  5. Kit Sigmon

    Kit Sigmon Well-Known Member

    In Relationship
    That's not mentoring...comes across like a young girl was paired with a "mature woman"
    who was "available" but lacks the ability or training to actually mentor.
  6. Odetta

    Odetta Thankful for grace

    United States
    I have a dear friend who is 20 years younger than me. She and her husband just adopted three special needs teenagers, their first kids ever. I happen to have birthed two special needs kids, aged 15 and 13 now. At one point in recent months, she referred to me as a mentor for her on parenting special needs kids. I just see her as a friend I enjoy first, and then someone for whom I can offer some wisdom of experience on occasion when she asks, and lots of prayer support and a listening ear. She offers a lot to me, too, in spiritual development - she knows her bible inside and out! Our relationship grew organically out of life group and bible study. I'm flattered that she said that, but that is not my goal for the relationship. I just want her to be my friend, and I want to be a friend to her. I consider my mentor to be the wife of our life group leader. Again, that relationship developed organically.

    I think sometimes when churches try to formalize a Titus 2 program, the relationships can get very stilted and awkward. It can be easy for a mentor to operate from a place of pride - "I'm older, I've seen more, therefore I know more/better than you, and every moment I'm with you I have to teach you something because you don't know anything and anything you do know is suspect." That's disrespectful. It comes from a place of assuming the younger person is ignorant, not simply inexperienced. This is what I think the older woman of the OP sounds like. That, and a therapist, which is not in her job description or credentials.

    Sometimes those who put formal Titus 2 programs together kind of force relationships that aren't appropriate. I once signed up to be a mentee at a large church, and was given a mentor who was 5-10 years younger than me. I was expecting - and had asked for - an older woman to give me advice on raising godly children having already done so herself (like my current mentor). Not someone with toddlers. The poor girl was wise and immediately said we should consider ourselves peers, but it was still a manufactured relationship that didn't go anywhere deep. So while I love the concept of Titus 2, I'm not a fan of forcing a relationship with someone you wouldn't necessarily choose for yourself to be in relationship with.
  7. nikki79

    nikki79 New Member

    Every single one of your replies has been extremely helpful and I hope I get even more input. Thank you all so much!!!!