A number of years ago, a local counseling agency started an outreach program called “Mentoring Moms.” Experienced moms were paired with teen moms. The idea was that the older moms would help the young ones to master mothering skills. They would be “friends.” The younger could call the older mom at any time with questions. They would have times when they just sat and talked over a soft drink somewhere, sharing experiences, swapping stories, mentoring.
“I was disappointed with the project,” ‘Vera’ said. (Not her real name.) “The teen I was paired with, and her mother, thought it was something they had to do to get or keep their public assistance. They were afraid of me, afraid of messing up.” Vera wanted to help the younger mom. “I didn’t want her to drop out of school. I didn’t want her to think I would ‘turn her in’ for neglect or something. I wanted to help, not make matters worse for her. It’s difficult to be a good mom in the best of circumstances, but to be a teen mom…there are so many things that young moms just don’t know because they haven’t had enough experience.”
The project was discontinued, but the need is probably greater today than ever. Teen parents need someone they can rely on and trust to help them find the life-coping skills that will help them to be more effective parents.
Whether or not you agree that the Bible is literal or figurative, fiction or non-fiction, it contains a lot of common sense wisdom. Here is what is written in Titus 2:1-5. The words define “responsibility.”
“You must teach what is sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
“Likewise teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind…”
Children learn what they live. Adults are never too old to make a difference in a life of any age…young middle or elderly.
Do you have a special interest or hobby you would like to share with others? Maybe with younger people? Roy Booth, an older gentleman, has been friendly and generous for as long as I’ve known him. I don’t know how many years he held weekly carving classes in the small city he calls home. He has not only shared his love for woodcarving, but his passion for nature and wildlife. He is rich in friends and family. And he has inspired me so many times with his positive attitude and willingness to share his knowledge and reach out in friendship.
You can be a great influence on others. Contact your local RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program), Senior Aide program, Community Action Agency (CAA) to see if they can use your skills somewhere in the community. If you are a history buff or an art lover, contact your local museum or historical society to see if they could use you as a docent or volunteer. A writer could start a writers group that encourages, motivates and supports writers. Knitters or crocheters could start groups to share their talents. The possibilities are almost endless.
We all can use a little mentoring here and there, sometimes giving, sometimes receiving. Call it networking for quality of life.