If the title doesn't make instant sense to you, the picture below should help. This was the classic underdog movie of 1984. Daniel meets Mr. Miyagi who becomes his reluctant mentor and trains Daniel-son inside and out to become things that he never could have become on his own. Lots of kids of the '80s tied bandannas around their foreheads and practiced "wax on, wax off."
I believe a huge part of the success of this movie is a common longing we all have deep inside. We want to find someone who will help us become something greater than we are today. For Moms, this ache can feel pretty desperate.
Just like Mr. Miyagi did for Daniel, a mentor can lead you to places you can't get to on your own. Mr. Miyagi's hands had followed the forms and built certain muscles through years of repetition, learning, and adjusting. The sensei's teaching has the power to accelerate a humble student's learning curve. Daniel's transformation wasn't magical. It still required his own sweat and work. But when he chose to trust Mr. Miyagi's methods, he was able to by-pass some of the lessons he would have needed to learn alone on the much slower path of trial and error.
Mr. Miyagi's training also had a profound effect on Daniel's confidence. He started out as a cocky, know-it-all. As his respect for his mentor grew, so did his genuine, humble trust in his own abilities. Trusting Mr. Miyagi as a source of wisdom gave Daniel a much deeper well to draw from when he got into situations that challenged him and made him feel out of his league. We all remember that heart pumping scene during the final match when Daniel's leg was hurt. We saw the uncertainty and pain on his face give way to strength and calm knowledge as he met Mr. Miyagi's eyes and read the message there. It was a victory that would have been impossible without a mentor.
The magic a mentor has to offer to our lives comes mostly just because of they're position - they're a couple steps ahead of us walking down the same path. Linking arms with someone ahead of you multiplies the power of this verse in your life:
Your word is a lamp to my feet
Imagine yourself walking down a crooked path through the dark woods. You can only see a small radius around you from the light spilling from the lantern in your hand. You walk slowly and carefully, mindful of tree roots crossing your path and turns in the way that you wouldn't have time to adjust for if you moved faster. You're so thankful for your little light and you're happy to have exactly what you need to be able to see and consider each step as you take it.
As you're walking, you see a bobbing light in the distance. You wonder if you're going so fast that you're catching up to a fellow traveler. You know that you would enjoy the company and wonder if maybe your two lights would combine into a bigger circle to speed you on your way.
Pretty soon you realize you aren't the one closing the gap. The other light is getting close to you. It's another Mom, who looks a lot like you with an extra layer of dust on her feet and a lot more wear showing on her pack. She's coming the opposite way, towards you, with a smile and an outstretched hand. She links arms with you and with a little laugh, tells you about the light at the end of the tunnel. As you walk and talk, she gently directs you into hidden shortcuts and over obstacles faster than you can see them coming. You can't contain the question any longer and finally ask her how she can do that. You listen closely to her answer.
"I've walked this way before and remember it. In fact, it was my feet that wore down this shortcut into a path. My memory can see things up ahead that you're light hasn't revealed yet. Just follow me and you'll be alright."
Sometimes these Mentor Moms will come looking for you with an offer of their experience. Please say yes. Go to moms' meetings and listen to the older moms. Sign up for a Bible Study that the white-haired ladies attend and ask questions. Make yourself available to older women who express an interest in your life.
More often, though, you'll have to go hunting for mentors in your life. Please do it and don't be shy. Usually, an older mom hasn't offered because she feels insecure offering advice outside of an official environment. No one wants to seem like they're butting their nose in where it doesn't belong. Other times the insecurity is just because her story is still being written, and she wonders if she really has anything valuable to offer.
You might have to make the first move. Go ask her. Tell her that you're just looking for a friend who's a few steps farther down the same road you're traveling to walk through life with you - no pressure or high expectations. Go find a real person to link arms with. Reading blogs is great, but it can't bring you chicken noodle soup and medicine when you're sick like a friend would! ;)
So, I'll echo the words of Woody from Toy Story as he asked the toys about their moving buddies, but I'm talking about mentors.....
"If you don't have one, GET ONE!"
And lastly, I need to scold every one of you who noticed the misspelled word GLARING in my title yesterday and didn't call me on it!! My son, Trevor, gets brownie points for not only reading that post, but also for giving me a heads-up about the fact that Laundry has an "R" in it! He also suggested that I re-title yesterday's post, "Spelling Like a Boss." Yeah.....whatever Trevor! ;)