From the day you are born you are like a sponge, absorbing the thoughts and opinions of others. You might say that every person with whom you come in contact is a mentor, influencing how you see yourself and the world. What are you taking in – negativity or inspiration, garbage or gold? And what do you put back out? Decide who and what you will let in.
Think about someone you know who is really struggling and making poor choices. Whether it’s a friend, co-worker or family member, it’s so difficult to watch that play out. Very often that person has lived a life with many negative experiences and one poor decision after another. He has been ‘mentored’ by people and beliefs that do not build him up. (In all fairness, these mindsets pass down from generation to generation. We are all doing the best we can with what we’ve got. It takes awareness and strength of purpose to break these patterns, and it is possible!)
Let’s look at some of the ways you are molded, and the quality of those influences. (This goes double for your kids who are so easily swayed by… well, just about everything.)
If you spend time in front of the TV, or listening to the radio, you are being mentored by advertisers, journalists, script writers and song writers. You are told what to buy and encouraged to buy what you don’t even need or want. The nightly news fills your head with disasters and tragedies and sucks the energy out of you. Comedy, drama and ‘reality’ shows condition you to think about love, marriage, money and relationships in ways that are sometimes unhealthy. Song lyrics can make you smile or drag you down. What is the outcome? Is this the food you want for your soul? Negativity in, negativity out. Garbage in, garbage out. Choose what works for you.
Now take a look at the ‘mentors’ in your life and your kids’ lives, the daily influences all around you. Do you surround yourself with those who lift you up and have the same values you want to live by? Listen to the words they speak and the advice they give you. How much of it is gossip, criticism or jealousy? How much is uplifting and helps you build strong character and optimism? Observe the priorities, lifestyle, principles and character of the mentors in your life. Choose people who are an influence for good so that you can be an influence for good. Determine whether or not they can lead you to success in relationships, career, health and spirit.
You have many teachers in this life. Some are here to inspire you to be your best, others to make you aware of what you don’t want to be. Learn from all of them.
~Fern Weis, Certified Coach and Middle School Teacher, helps parents break down the walls their teens put up, so they can have a great relationship and better prepare their kids for success in college and beyond. Learn how Fern can help you with your parenting concerns through coaching, classes and workshops at Your Family Matters.