Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Who's with me?

I'm reading a book about mentoring called Organic Mentoring: A Mentor's Guide to the Next Generation Women. It’s co-written by Sue Edwards and Barbara Neumann.  One of its main objectives is to help the different generations understand how different they are from one another and instead of resisting that to settle into it. In other writings, I’ve heard this described as the “third way”. I’ve adopted that language. The “third way” is a process of observing and noticing the tensions revealed in two different ways and then looking for a third way or a place of common ground. Ideally both perspectives adapting to the other because of shared values and shared love for one another.

Being in this conversation has made me aware of a few things and I’ll share couple of them. I don’t know of a subtle way to say this, so here it goes. Older women, please stop apologizing for aging. Please stop apologizing for things like knowing songs from many different decades.  Why do we care if we “date ourselves” in a conversation? I’d love for us to collectively reach a place where we see the history of redemption in our stories and get excited about sharing that with others. What if we really believed our journeys are a gift? We have more to draw on than those younger than us.  Selfishly, I’d like to live in a community where the people ahead of me are learning how to grieve the losses that come as we age, but also celebrate the gifts that can be known at no other stage in our lives. At 48, with 50 around the corner and other numbers just past that (Lord willing), I don’t want to live owning my age alone. I want people on the ride with me.

The other thing I want to say is how much I love millennials. Paying attention to what matters to them and why has been a fabulous corrective in my life. I’ve been curious for many years about the pendulum swings that are so evident in human history. Why does that happen? One observation has to do with our strengths eventually becoming a weakness. For instance a strong identity as an individual has it’s benefits. But this identity left us weak in the area of committing to community over our own agendas. We’re blind to our own weaknesses. The next generation isn’t so blind to the weaknesses of the one before it. They have the energy and desire to make changes so the pendulum moves.  Thank God!

If you want to understand yourself and other generations better there’s lots of good information out there. It’s truly fascinating to pay attention to. My prayer is that we will learn from one another. I hope we will pursue loving one another well and that the Spirit of Christ will be our guide and good teacher in the midst of our wonderfully varied stages of life and perspectives.

1 comment:

michelle key said...

Me too! michelle