Tag Archives: #mentorship

To Be or Not To Be

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When mentoring, I want to make sure that I am setting the example and that I am always listening and hearing my Mentee clearly. One of my mentees is bi-racial and has hair that seems to ebb and flow with the tides. It is gorgeous and shrinks according to the different levels of humidity. It can be down her back one day and up near her ear lobe the next. It is curly in some places and coily in others. But what it is not -is straight! And that is exactly what she dying to have. Once after getting her hair flat ironed to the level of straightness that she desired, she came home, showered, got her hair wet and POOF! Massive curls again! We laugh now but it was sheer meltdown then. Those massive curls were back to stay and she honestly had no idea what went wrong. Her mother, several friends, and family members have straight hair.
My girl is in crises mode. She wanted and identified with straight hair. So being as good-natured and fun-loving as ever (not), I decided to get some books and magazines on the hair struggle and come up with some ideas and new methods to battle the whole ‘black hair struggle’. After several trips to the bookstores and hours pouring over Pinterest and YouTube, my girl was still struggling and skeptical of the whole free to be natural movement.
One weekend, after getting myself ready for 2.5 days of hair preparations and re-braiding, a thought occurred to me -my example of hair was contradictory to what I was trying to get her to see. I kept my hair in braids because … I did not like my hair. The truth is that I braid it to hid it and not to deal with it. I see clearly now that she and I are sitting on the sidelines watching and sulking. So, the braids came out and did not go back in.
Did I struggle? BIG TIME YES!!! And I still do a little. But here is what I now find fun and unique about my hair -it changes! No one at work ever knows what they are going to encounter when they see me. My looks are so versatile -even I do not know what I am going to get. My Mentee is now experimenting with her hair (yes this is a process that is never done) and LOVING IT FINALLY. She stated that when she returns to school, it going to be interning to see how all the girls with straight hair get to wearing their hair perfectly straight and she will have a different style everyday. I am not allowed to show pictures of her hair yet. I will share a few of mine after the braids.

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A Natural MentorĀ 

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Two years ago I joined a mentorship program in Hampton Roads. We were partnered or matched with young girls of various ages. What you will quickly learn while mentoring is that no matter the age, it is a reciprocal relationship. You will probably learn more about yourself than about her. You will love, you will grow and you will inspire her to do the same one day. Through mentoring, we have forged some deep and long lasting friendships. These special bond are usually started when one person needs a little guidance, help or just a listening ear. What blooms is growth and love of two or more who only have a heart for loving and desire the best for another.

                                                                                    
 

Strangely enough, I never saw myself as a mentor. I never thought I had myself together enough to mentor someone especially an adult. The opportunity came when I was looking for a meaning way to volunteer in the community. These girls just needed an outlet that was safe, a trustworthy listening ear and lots of fun. Check, check, check, I can do all those! After mentoring into my second year, I was reading over some old journals that I had (in feeble attempt to get organized but that is another blog post) and discovered that I have been a natural mentor for most of my adult life! It was never by mutual agreement but on the journey of life, God would allow my life to intersect the life of another woman who would need love, care and guidance for awhile. The lengths of time varied but the quality of time was always beneficial, necessary and impactful. 

This year I have set goals for intentional and impactful mentoring. Before my plans were fully formed, two women walked in my life -only this time I was alert, engaged and intentional. Coincidence? I think not. Each woman came of her own with stories and dreams and goals and they needed someone to help them organize their thoughts and move those goals from paper to reality. And that my friends is the year long program that I was designing. So yes, I am excited and yes, I am nervous. I look forward with great anticipation to sharing, learning, loving and growing. I would love to see ‘us’ at the end of the year stronger, purposeful, kingdom building women. 

While meditating and prayerfully considering this, I did not tell anyone. Several persons just happened to tell me that I should consider coaching or counseling but I just wanted to know what God wanted of me. I knew I wanted to try to give it a go and it felt right but I wanted to be sure (yep I am that kinda girl). One evening while meditating I read Titus 2 and my heart overflowed. Words cannot express what transpired in that moment. I will work diligently to love and guide those sent to me. Together we will glean all the Father has before us.