Where are all the mentors? Eyes a kimbo, future mentee! Keep your eyes open. Who is doing something you admire? Who already has expertise in something you want to accomplish? Who would you love to shadow?
“Should I ask them?” you ask. “Or should I just act like a stealth hover-craft, and stalk my mentor of choice?”
The correct answer is: BOTH! Stalking is a little weird, but if you do it gently, it works!
My two favorite mentors
Margie is a power-packed leader of women with high school age children. I am a young, single student. Margie prayed for me every time I asked for it in small group. When I became a young wife and new mom, I continued to admire her from a distance. I admired her skill as a mom, a prayer warrior, and a prepared Bible study leader.
I aspired to follow her example, so I asked her to be my mentor. I shadowed her. I learned everything I could from her.
Before she went to live in heaven with Jesus, she passed her mantle on to me for women’s ministries. Her example and her legacy lives on in a small way today in me.
Lee and Mary Lou
Lee is my 91-year-old neighbor. His wife, Mary Lou is a dear, kind and easy to chat with. We live in a development with a 1-mile loop around a man-made lake. Like many of my neighbors, I “walk the lake” early every morning. Mary Lou and Lee used to walk it too.
When Mary Lou rehabbed from some health issues, Lee would patiently walk slowly around the lake with Mary Lou and her walker, often stopping to sit so Mary Lou could catch her breath.
While other neighbors aged and moved out to condos or senior communities, Lee and Mary Lou made the decision to age in place right here in our neighborhood. They make our neighborhood a better place.
Today, Mary Lou has dementia and Lee is in a wheelchair after a stroke. They are both in their 90s. They have full time caregivers. A crew of neighbors rally around Lee and take him out on our morning walks. Mary Lou prefers to sleep in.
I never asked Lee and Mary Lou to mentor me. I wasn’t looking for my end of life plan when I met them. But I admired their love and commitment to each other. They never imagined their decision would inspire anyone. But my plan is to follow their example and age in place right here in my neighborhood and “walk the lake” till the younger neighbors have to push me around in a wheelchair!
Keep your eyes open…
Margie, and Lee and Mary Lou have left a legacy that will live on. Margie, by making Jesus the focal point of her life in front of a girl trying to become a grownup. Lee and Mary Lou, by pre-deciding how they wanted their last years to unfold in front of the same grownup who doesn’t want to face aging. If Lee and Mary Lou can still be mentors, all of us can!
What odd places will you look for examples of people you aspire to be? Who do you admire now? Will you ask outright? or just do the gentle stalk? Perhaps the better question is: who are you inspiring–without even knowing?