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Sometimes parents need mentors, too

We talk a lot about mentoring our youth. From elementary age through college, kids are mentored through churches, schools, jobs, and more. It’s wonderful, really. But sometimes it’s the parents who could use mentorship as well.

When my husband and I were newly married, we became close friends with two couples. Both had young children I often babysat, but we also just spent time at their houses, giving us ample opportunities to watch them parent. When it came time for us to have our own children, my husband and I found ourselves modeling our parenting after our friends. We also strove to continue with date nights and being purposeful in our relationship after watching them.

When one couple’s daughter would misbehave, they said she was being, “sassy.” When my own daughter was born, I would often tell her she was being sassy, in the same tone and everything. The other couple was very purposeful with doing devotions with their children and I would watch them do them before going out on nights I would babysit. From that, we learned to do the same with our children each night. Now their children are grown, and we are raising our brood. We even made decisions about how to handle the holidays with our family from them.

Mentoring wasn’t something we had set up or sought out. It happened in a very natural way. We were there with them as they did life as a family and we gleaned some amazing practices from them. I suppose we also found things about their parenting that didn’t match our own goals for our family, but overall I felt like these unwitting parenting teachers were immensely helpful for my husband and me.

Maybe you’re just starting out as parents with little ones underfoot. You’re still trying to figure out which end is up some days. Or maybe your children are older and your nest is beginning to empty. Find each other. Older parents love to hug on babies. Younger parents can get a whole lot of wisdom from older ones. And everyone, moms especially, need that investment.

You might make a connection with a new mom from work who’s just back from maternity leave. Or maybe you go to church with a family who’s teens might be able to babysit your little ones while all the adults go out. Perhaps your own cousin and his spouse can offer advice - or you can offer it to them.

Mentorships can happen between anyone, what matters is you make that connection and lift one another up. It’s worth the investment.