Gateway Six: Sharing Our Wisdom, Mentoring and Being Mentored
By Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
As women, we live in a golden age. We have more education than women have historically had access to. We live longer; we're healthier; we look better. Everything is really in our favor if we know how to absorb and share our wisdom and knowledge.
The key to making use of all our opportunities, and maybe even the key to a happy and healthy longevity, is learning what we need to learn. What a lot of women don't realize is that mentoring can come in many different forms. I can be sitting with an 85-year-old woman and in listening to the story of her life have my heart warmed and my courage heightened, just by hearing the things she's had to deal with and live through in her many years. I can also be in the presence of a two-year-old and learn the infectious, delightful nature of laughter once more, a lesson I may have forgotten too often. I can be taking a walk at the shore, listening to the sounds of the ocean waves and letting them soothe me, reminding me of the constancy of Mother Nature and her efforts to keep the world whole and in rhythm.
Wherever a woman passes in her life, she can be giving and receiving profound levels of exchange with nature and with other people of all ages and all stages of life. This is indeed what the good life is all about.
While we were having tea on her back porch, my friend commented, "I'm learning so much from Katie." I said, "Who's Katie?" (I had never heard her talk of Katie before.)
"Katie's that young woman who lives down the street." I said, "Oh! Do you spend much time with her?" She answered, "No actually we never spent anytime together." "Really? I said. Yet you're learning from her?" She responded, "Oh yes, though I don't even think she really knows who I am."
Now my curiosity was truly piqued. "Well, how are you learning from her?"
It's easy. I just watch her house and I watch her. I see how she opens her door and welcomes people, the graciousness and lilt in her voice as she says 'Hello' and 'How are you?' And I watch her sometimes when people are leaving, how she escorts them out, takes them down to their car, or if they're walking she accompanies them partway down the street, her smile radiant and sincere. She may be half my age, but she has a world to teach me around sharing, courtesy, and making people feel truly welcomed."
"Wow," I thought to myself. "I wonder who's around me who has wisdom lessons to teach, someone I'm not even noticing. I d better go and start looking."
A Positive Activity for You
For a week, take on the personal assignment of intentionally sharing some information, wisdom or part of the story of your own life with someone. Make it your intent to ask for and/or listen for the wisdom, information and ideas around you.
Try to think out of the box. Your information may come from a senior citizen, a very young child, a piece of equipment, a tree or something else in nature. It may also come from something that's been staring you in the face for years, such as a particular cereal box containing information about nutrition, or something equally important that you've stared at a hundred times. You may get a kick out of keeping some sort of log of the incredibly diverse places and people that will bring important new information into your life.