Welcome to week thirteen of the series, Women of Intention! We are almost finished the series and I'm so glad you've come along as we interview Women of Intention! For more information, and a list of topics, visit our introduction post HERE.
THIS WEEK'S INTENTIONAL WOMAN:
Today, we are going to meet Nina of Journey to Adulting.
Today, she will be talking to us about cross-generational relationships and mentorship. This type of relationship, we don't usually talk of often, but it can play a huge role in our lives once intentionally pursued.
After reading this post, be sure to check out Nina's blog and share this post :)
Tell us a bit about yourself: What are your passions, work and interests?
I'm Nina. If there’s one thing that I’m consistently drawn to, it’s the study of people. I love learning about what makes us tick as humans, how culture shapes us and how we interact with others; maybe that’s partly why I’m pursuing an MA in counselling. So here I am, I just really love talking, reading and blogging about everything related to these topics.
You have interest in cross-generational relationships. Could you briefly talk about this and tell us why you think it important?
I cherish cross-generational relationships because I am always learning so much from those who are older than me. They have so much wisdom to share just by virtue of experience. Some time ago, I remember attending a meeting where I had to give a yearly report. Afterwards, some members of the committee and myself went out for dinner. I distinctly remember sitting at the restaurant and realizing that everyone at our table was at least 15-30 years older than me. Far from being uncomfortable, I had this strong impression that there is so much wisdom and experience at this table. It was in that moment that I decided to be very intentional about learning from them. As I listened carefully and observed them, I found myself learning valuable lessons through basic things like conversation, how they treated the servers and mingled with their colleagues. They weren’t even aware that they were teaching me anything, but I picked up on precious lessons from the 2 days we spent together. In those 2 short days, I learned things that a lifetime in the classroom won’t really teach you.
How could one intentionally begin this type of relationship?
First, you need to be intentional about who you choose. Seek out someone who you respect and want to emulate. Look for someone who has characteristics that you value. Is there an older person in your life who exudes courage and strength? Unswerving integrity? Leadership?
Then, find a way to spend time with them. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself, if you were them, what would you need? And then offer to help in that area. Maybe that means coming over to rake their leaves, help plan an event or just grabbing lunch together.
I believe that the best and most valuable learning doesn’t happen in the classroom, but in those little, unplanned moments when a simple question is asked, an object lesson is drawn or a situation is handled. So don’t think you’re wasting time by doing seemingly ordinary or mundane things together. You never know what you’ll learn or what stories you’ll hear.
What about mentorship? What benefits does mentorship have? Would you say it’s as important to search out someone to mentor as it is to find a mentor for oneself?
Yes, I would definitely say that mentoring someone is just as important as being mentored!. So far, I’ve been talking about cross-generational relationships with those that are older, but relationships with those that are younger are just as important!
I can’t speak enough about mentorship, it is has been one of the biggest blessings in my life (both as a recipient and a giver). I first discovered mentorship when I mentored a young man to become a leader for our campus ministries club. Watching him grow, sitting with him through difficulties, praying for him and sharing what I’ve learned has blessed me in so many ways. Not only has it made me intentional about everything I do (because I am being observed), but it also gives me a greater purpose than just living for myself. You grow from the experience and it is hard to put to words exactly what happens when you engage in these kinds of relationships, but it truly changes you.
These days, I’m always intentional about having a mentor in an area that I want to grow in. Having a mentor is so valuable because you are able to go to them with your questions, have no shame over your doubts and learn things that you can’t find in textbooks or online. In the same way, I’m always looking for someone to invest time and effort into. You won’t reap the full blessings of mentorship until you’ve both been a mentor and a mentee.
What would you say to encourage someone who is struggling in this area of their life; whether wanting to begin cross-generational relationships, mentorship or even becoming a mentor?
To those who are looking for a mentor, do not be afraid to be vulnerable enough to ask for help. Maybe, there is no one in your life that you can ask to mentor you, perhaps this means sending out an email to someone you’ve never met or asking for friends to tell you of people they know. In either case, it takes courage to ask for help, but the rewards are so worth it!
There are people who want to be a mentor, but feel like they have nothing to share. A good thing to try is to begin journaling and being intentional about noticing the lessons you’ve learned in life or the growth/progress you’ve made. Your story is an incredible resource of wisdom that you can share with others.
Look at the people in your circle and see if God is putting someone as a burden on your heart to spend time with. Investing in people is one of the most incredible things you will ever do.
What about you? Were you inspired by this post? Have you had, or have you been a mentor? Why don't you tell me about it in the comments, and connect with me on social media?
(Don't forget to use the hashtag #WomenOfIntention16 so no one misses it!)