Giving Back Through Mentoring

Above virtually all else, black women specialize in giving back to our communities.  We often make career, educational, and family decisions based on whether those opportunities will help or hinder our chances of making a positive contribution to those around us.  One way that we can give back is by becoming a mentor.  A mentor is defined as a counselor or guide who is wise and trustworthy.  We can serve as mentors in a variety of ways.  Some mentees can benefit from our business acumen as they climb the career ladder.  Other mentees are looking for guidance in navigating educational institutions, civic organizations, and church life.  Additionally, many around us need hands-on advice for becoming a better wife and/or mother.

So isn’t a reflection on mentoring unnecessary?  Aren’t we already doing all we can for the uplift of the race, and for the advancement of black women in particular?  This blog is written out of my growing awareness that although we are often working hard to support others with our wisdom and knowledge, we aren’t always working smart.  Perhaps there are ways that we can become more effective and efficient with our processes.

“Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8b, NIV).  It is a natural part of our heritage as Black women of Christian faith for us to understand what it means to give generously.  We often think of such giving in financial terms.  This not only means to give tithes and offerings to the church where we hold our membership, but to also give to those in need, including our family and friends.  We are also called to give back to our educational institutions, civic organizations, and local to global causes that we care about.  However, once we’ve done all that giving from our bank accounts and investments, we’re not done giving.  The greater challenge in this super busy day and age is to give of ourselves, namely, our time.  With all of the demands in our lives, time is a deeply precious commodity.  It is precisely for that reason that giving something so precious is a sign of deep love and affection.

Am I suggesting that mentoring requires a significant portion of every workday, or that mentoring should become a part-time job? Not at all!  Sometimes mentoring works best when we can effectively incorporate mentoring activities into our regular schedule.  Perhaps there is a place in your schedule for powering up at your favorite coffee house or breaking bread over a business lunch.  Why not reserve on your calendar a certain number of times per month or hours per month that you might be willing to offer to someone requesting mentorship, whether she uses that language or not?  Or better yet, why not pray that God would direct you to someone that could benefit from your listening ear, wisdom, and practical advice?  Even one to two hours per month offered consistently over time can leave a sizable legacy.

By now, you may be wondering how you might go about adding the role of mentoring to an already full plate.  In my next blog, I’ll discuss some specific strategies for unique ways that you can mentor without compromising focus.

 

À votre santé (“To your health”),

 

Dr. T

Tonya Armstrong

 

 

 

 

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