Why does mentorship really matter? Today’s blog will illustrate the power a strong mentor can have in our lives!
Carolyn Russell has mentored countless individuals and couples. She believes mentoring to be a humbling experience in which she shares from her journey while loving the mentee through their journey. Today’s blog is an interview with Carolyn on her thoughts about mentorship.
Question: What is a mentor?
I think about this question often as I seek God for help in the relationships He as placed me into. I believe that mentoring is sharing your relationship with Christ with your mentee and encouraging them that they will not always be where they are. There will be a day when they share their journey with others.
It is very humbling to me when people call me their mentor. I feel like the people I mentor have so many areas where they are capable. They could be my mentor. I just mentor them in the areas where I have gone through hard times. Mentoring is about listening and encouraging. It takes time, love, and the willingness to share your relationship with Christ.
Question: What qualities have you found to exist in good mentees?
My best mentees have been hungry. They are willing to do the hard work, and they want to be in tune with the Lord. They are engaged in the process, keep our times together, and are open and honest. I appreciate when mentees process our times together before the Lord. They need to follow Him, not just take my advice.
One exceptional mentoring relationship I have had was with a couple whose marriage was in trouble. They had two beautiful toddlers who would play on the floor as we talked. As the children played, I thought about the impact of the parent’s decision to remain married or not and how tremendously it would impact these children.
This couple was hungry to seek the Lord for help. One of the most exciting things to watch as the couple grew was how the wife sought the Lord. She would ask me questions, and I would encourage her to ask the Lord the same question. She sought Him through His word and prayer. Every time she would call me and tell me what the Lord had told her.
The couple’s marriage was saved, and today they are impacting hundreds of other marriages as they lead marriage groups in their local church. The children are teenagers and have had the opportunity to grow under the leadership of two parents who love each other and the Lord.
Question: How do you set boundaries in your mentoring relationships?
Boundaries are important in all relationships. I have found that setting boundaries early in the relationship prevents conflict later. I personally have a core group of friends who I can ask for help if I need to know how to handle situations.
Boundaries are sometimes painful, but they never harm. I once mentored a young lady who had recently left prison. It was important in her healing for her to not return to some of the actions that had placed her in prison before. Unfortunately, she fell back into the same patterns. I had reminded her about the boundary many times in our relationship.
I was not qualified to help her. Her issues were more than I could handle. I did, however, offer to go with her to meet with a trained professional. Because she refused help, I had to acknowledge that I was not able to help her. It was very hard. I cared about her and it was painful to not be able to help her.
She eventually came back to me asking for help, but even at that time, she was unwilling to follow the boundaries that had been set. The relationship dissolved over time.
I hope that these questions with Carolyn will help you as you think about your mentor/mentee relationships. Mentors can have a tremendous impact on your healing journey. Their role is discussed in further in chapter five of Abuse is Not My Story.
If this topic is helpful for you, please let me know, and we can expand it further.
You can also read about Stages of Healing from Abuse