I had a mentor/friend in my late teens and early twenties, who walked alongside me through life and encouraged me in my walk with the Lord. I loved to spend time with her with no real agenda - we didn't formally study the Bible or anything like that. We just talked and shared life and spoke naturally of the Lord, and how His Word was impacting our lives. She was older than me by about 10 years, was married and had children. She was busy, but I've never forgotten her heart for ME, and how she made time weekly for us to get together.
I've gone on to follow this pattern, with teenagers, or young moms, and my own children - my daughters especially. A group especially on my heart are home educating moms. They have taken on a task to not only educate their children, and if they are wise, to disciple their children.
I write for our state home education magazine put out by the Coalition of Homeschoolers Across Pennsylvania (CHAP). This quarter I wrote about mentoring and its importance, and I thought I'd share it here with you. I've written it for homeschool moms but it can apply to all of us as women to come alongside younger women to encourage them.
A Challenge For Experienced Homeschool Moms
I recently became a part of an online homeschool moms group. I’m not sure why I requested to
join, since I don’t normally do these kinds of things. I have a lot of homeschool experience (I’ve
been home educating my children for nearly 23 years), and I am comfortable in the way we
homeschool. I guess you could say that I am confident in my choices. I also belong to a really
great co-op that has worked hard at encouraging one another being key!
Imagine my great surprise then, when first day, first thing I read is ‘here is a your chance to post
a rant.” Wow! There were many comments and all of them rather ugly. I get that
once in a while we need a listening ear to express frustration. However I am certain that a public
forum is not the place for this to happen. Once words leave your mouth, or you hit send on your
keyboard, you cannot get them back.
My heart was grieved as I read some of the things these women said about their kids,
husbands, in laws. I KNOW I don’t know their situations, or their frustrations, but that is kind of
my point. In these days where we all can post our ‘opinions’ about every little thing, I was sad to
see it playing out on an online homeschool forum. Would I really want my mom to post publicly
that I had been really annoying and a bother to her for the whole world to read? I can tell you
the answer is NO, and I know that my kids would feel the same way.
I began to wonder if these women had any help in their day to day lives, from friends or
extended family. I wondered if anyone had a mentor, someone who’d been through the trenches
of parenting and home educating. I have a heart for mentoring women, especially
homeschooling moms, but I wonder sometimes if many home educators, when they finish with
their last child, ‘retire’ so to speak. Do any stick around home educating circles to be that voice
of encouragement, or that shoulder to cry on?
I will be done with my last child in about six years. My plan is to stay involved with homeschool
parents, to continue to be a part of a moms group. May I encourage you to do the same, Moms?
We know we don’t know everything, but our years of experience count, and just wanting to
encourage and cheerlead these younger moms on is of great value!
These women in the online group needed someone in their real life to say, “I know, I
understand, it will be okay.” They need someone to be their cheerleader, to remind them that
it is a hard job somedays, but it is of eternal value, because your children are made in the image
of God and are of great worth to Him. The need know there is someone who will listen, and
care. Frankly, some moms need to know that they will get through these hard days and see
fruit. It will happen!
My deep concern for the things I read that day, are that these moms are building resentment
toward their children. They need to be reminded to seek God for the answers to our loving
challenging children. He made them and knows them, and knows what they need.
Can I challenge you moms who are nearing the end of your homeschool days, to look around
you at the young moms just starting or those who have kids getting a bit older, and walk along
side them? They need you whether they know it or not.
Let’s remember to pray for homeschooling moms. Pray that they will follow God in the path He
has for them. That they will love their children, that their husbands will encourage them in their
work as moms and teachers in the home, and that their children will be a delight to them. Let’s
also ask God to give us a mom to mentor and encourage. It will make all the difference in the