Mentors are extremely important to parenting, since we tend to model our parental mentors. This makes choosing the right mentor significant.
In our search for parental mentors we must eliminate some myths.
One myth is that those who follow the worlds system of parenting are good mentors. This really boils down to how we define success. The desired goal of godly, biblical parenting is vastly different than the goals sought by the world. While we may pursue common traits of kindness, peace, obedience, and love, the world does not care about loving God, pleasing God, or glorifying God. We may be able to find some common tools of the parenting trade that we share, but we cannot be fooled into thinking that we are working toward the same end.
Also, the myth that good mentors should have kids the same age as mine.This is tantamount to taking a coach at the same level as the player or a financial adviser in debt up to his eyeballs just as much as his client. Granted, there are things you can learn from people in the same boat as you, but when it comes to a mentor we want one who has weathered the storm and come through it.
Or perhaps the myth that good mentors have lots of kids. The issue here is that the qualification of “lots of kids” does not equal godliness. A person is not a better carpenter because he owns a lot of tools, and a person is not a better fisherman because he owns a lot of tackle. It just means they have a lot more stuff. So it is with parents who have lots of kids. Look for mentors who know the Word of God and trust it to guide their parenting; whether they have one kid or a dozen matters little.
Choose to replace these myths with truths from Scripture, like Titus 2.
Good mentors will have demonstrated sacrifice in their parenting over time. They are described as “sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled.” Sober-mindedness indicates that immature or adolescent thinking has been left behind. Along with their thinking, they have also weeded out that which was immature and adolescent in their actions and are known to be dignified. Overall they are known by their self-control. They have sacrificed self, self-expression and self-gratification. They have chosen to die to self and live for God, conforming to his word in the way they choose to live their life, including their parenting.
Also, good mentors will have demonstrated a soundness to their parenting over time. They are described as “sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.” Determining soundness (that something is of good quality, competent and secure) takes testing. The soundness of a car is determined by various safety tests, trial runs, and obstacle courses. So the soundness of someone’s faith, love, and steadfastness specifically in relation to parenting will only be determined over times through various tests, great and small. Life’s tests, including parenting, have shown that they have build their lives on a sure foundation, God’s truth.
Good mentors will not be perfect, but when we observe the whole of their life we should see a consistent testimony of godly sacrifice and soundness.
Watch for men and women who love their kids, care for their kids, shepherd their kids, pray with their kids, pray for their kids, read to their kids, talk with their kids, instruct their kids, discipline their kids, and correct their kids.
When we find a model of godliness that takes the time and makes the effort to pass on that godliness to their progeny, we should gladly listen to them, sit under their instruction, and follow their pattern.