I have been blessed beyond measure by the wise, older people the Lord has placed in my life. I have been mentored by my two loving parents, and I am so grateful for them. They have always been a phone call away, ready to give solicited (or unsolicited) advice. I may not like it, but I listen and ask God to help me understand and hear if there is a message for me in what they say. My mentors in life have not all been at school or in my family, but the same principles I share below apply in any work or life setting.
During my first year of teaching, I was able to learn from a beautiful, older teacher from Texas. I ate lunch with her most days. I listened to how she handled issues in her class and how she taught her lessons. I learned so much from this wonderful woman simply by eating lunch with her and listening to her. The next year, I moved across town to a different school, and was blessed by a wise, older man. He was a few years from retirement and shared much of the same wisdom I had heard the previous year. I gathered new pearls of wisdom from him and stored them for future use. I didn’t purposely seek their wisdom. I simply enjoyed eating lunch with them, listening to them, and learning from them.
Proverbs 12:15 (NIV)
The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.
As I progressed through my career, I continued to find older, wiser friends who were willing to take me under their wing and pour into my life. Some I met at school, and some I met at church. Some are only a few years older and some are decades older. I pray for them and listen to them, and I ask them to pray for me. Their life experiences provide a rich, deep well of wisdom for them to access and share for my benefit. They have often “been there, done that,” and they help me avoid pitfalls and failures. I would much rather learn from them than learn the hard way on my own.
Proverbs 13:13-14 (NIV) He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded. The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.
I have rarely needed wisdom for a situation involving the "snares of death;" but as a general rule, I will listen to any advice that keeps me out of those snares!
There is much in the Bible about discipleship and pouring into others’ lives to help them grow. This is one of the greatest gifts one can give, and I am forever grateful for the wisdom that has been shared with me as I have grown. Teaching can be a lonely job. It can be time-consuming and requires high amounts of energy. It is not easy, but it is rewarding work. Building relationships with older colleagues and learning from them can enrich your life and career in incredible ways. Be open to their friendship and support.
Proverbs 16:31 (NLT) Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life.
When I look back on my years, I can see that God carefully chose some precious people to mentor me to ensure my future success. I am thankful that He also gave me an open and willing heart to grow amazing relationships with my dear friends and mentors from several generations.
Continue the Pursuit of Wisdom
The book of Proverbs is full of practical wisdom that can be applied everywhere. There are 31 Proverbs and about 31 days in every month. Read one Proverb a day for more advice on how to grow wise. Nurture your relationships with your mentors and ask the Lord to give you wisdom every morning for what you will face that day. He is the best mentor you will ever find!