I am a big proponent of having mentors. I believe everyone should have a mentor for every side of life: career, family, hobbies, etc. For those that don't know what I mean, a mentor is someone who has had experience in something that you're either new to or have less experience in, and the mentor guides you along in getting through any hurdles. I suppose some people might call these people "role models", but a mentor is something a little more than that. Yes, a mentor is a role model, but they are also hands-on in helping you.
I've only ever had two official mentors in my life: Kathy and Lisa. Kathy was my girls' Bible study teacher in high school. She would host a Bible study for the high school girls in my youth group once a week. But what I liked about her style of teaching was that there were no study guides, no devotional books, just our Bibles and a notebook. She taught us how to a devotional with just the Word of God and prayer. Besides the Bible studies, she would schedule a one-on-one session with each girl through dinner, a coffee date, whatever. During that time we were allowed to ask anything we wanted from her about faith, boys, dressing modestly, drugs, ANYTHING! I was so grateful for her presence in my life during that time. I cried my eyeballs out when her husband was called to be a missionary. But we still keep in touch to this day.
Lisa is my marriage mentor along with her husband Dave, who is a mentor to Trey. When Trey and I were going through our premarital counseling, we were set up with Lisa & Dave through our counselors. Basically, the marriage mentors were a couple who had been married at least 10 years (they've been married for 27! woo!) and have weathered some marriage "storms" that could be helpful guidance for a young couple. (Also, they try to set up the mentors with couples of similar personalities, and Lisa & Dave have 9 kids! What exactly were our counselors trying to tell us?!) I can't explain how grateful we are to have them in our lives. Since we don't live near either one of our parents, Lisa & Dave are like our surrogate parents. She's there for me for everything from, "How do I get him to put his socks IN the hamper?" to serious stuff. The first few years of marriage can be tricky ones, and I'm so glad to have someone who's been there (with 9 kids in tow!).
Other than these two fabulous ladies, I have had other mentors who were not so "official". They were people along the way who helped me, without being asked, and I've always been able to go to them without hesitation. Whether or not they feel the same, I consider them my mentors. I like to see them as examples for myself. One of these unoffical mentors is someone I work with. She's a bright, energetic, smart lady on our space team (I'm terrestrial, there's this weird rivalry between space and terrestrial /digression) who not only is good at what she does, but she's always presented herself with a stylish fashion sense. I'm a big fan of smart women, but I'm an even bigger fan of smart women who still act like women.
The other day, this woman and I were heating up our lunches in the break room when she asked, "Now Holly, are you diabetic?" "Yes, I am," I said with a smile. "OK, I noticed that thing on your arm (I've been sporting my Dexcom sensor on my left arm for the past 2 weeks, but even with sweaters it still bulges through.) and wondered about it." I told her about my CGM and showed her the nifty receiver tucked away in my pocket. Then I showed her my insulin pump in my other pocket. She told me that a friend of theirs had a child who also had a pump, and her husband was worried about that little girl having to wear one of those the rest of her life into adulthood. I told her that even though the pump is something I'm tethered to 24/7, I feel that I had more freedom with it and that being diabetic is not the end of the world, especially as a kid. That little girl won't have a lifetime to get used to cereal, pasta, and pizza like I did, then have their world change completely with diabetes. By the time she's my age, diabetes will be such second nature. My unofficial mentor politely listened while I told her all this, then she said, "Wow, I'm going to tell my husband everything you just said, because he was really worried about that little girl." "Please do."
Even though my unofficial mentor was not as educated about diabetes (especially type 1), she presented a genuine curiosity without a previous bias or opinion. She was happy to listen to what I had to say, as if I were the expert on all things diabetes. I'm certainly not, but I'm glad that someone wanted to know from a "source" rather than the stereotypical scare tactic. She confirmed my faith in having her as my mentor.
And if you're one of my coworkers reading this and have figured out that you're my unofficial mentor, please be flattered. I think you're pretty awesome!
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, nurse, certified diabetes educator (CDE) or any medical professional of any kind. (But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express!) Therefore, please do not use any of my postings as medical fact. I am simply a blogger expressing my highs and lows (pun intended) with diabetes. For changes in your medication, exercise regiment, or diet please consult a qualified physician.