This past weekend RPM and I went to visit some friends down in Portland. When we first met this young couple their children were two and three. They are now twelve and thirteen.
The 12 year old is a delightful young man who loves giving and receiving hugs. He is full of life and enthusiasm, and must have thanked us at least 20 times for coming to see him. All I can say is, I love that boy to pieces.
The 13 year old is a beautiful young lady who has a tender heart and a love of cooking. On Saturday morning her mom and I got up early to take a walk. When we got home we discovered that our budding young cook had made Baked Oatmeal for breakfast. It was delicious. She had helped with dinner and dessert the night before and seemed to be developing a love of cooking. So, I did a very simple thing. I offered to buy her a cookbook of her very own. It was my way of saying, “I love you, I believe in you. You have a gift and I’d like to help you develop it.”
In my own life I have been very fortunate to have had several women who loved and encouraged me at key times in my life. Women who saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. That walked me through difficult situations. That challenged me to grow in my faith. They shared recipes and wrote notes of encouragement. They offered advice when asked and didn’t say, “I told you so,” when I didn‘t follow their advice and things didn‘t turn out well. It is because of these women that I am who I am today.
At some point I became the one reaching out to younger women. Doing for them what others had done for me. Sometimes in a more formal mentoring program, other times just an older friend helping a younger one by offering a listening ear or help in a time of need.
The interesting thing for me is that I have been blessed when I was the one being mentored and blessed when I was the one mentoring. There is something special about someone not related to you helping you find “you.” Being there not because they are family and have to be, but because they want to be. And there is something wonderful about being able to help someone else see what a truly incredible person they really are.
Everyone has a skill. Something that they’ve been doing for a long time. Something that they do really well. That includes those of you reading this blog. My question is: “What are you doing to pass on that knowledge and skill to someone else?” I’m not talking about teaching formal classes or even an in-depth mentoring program. I’m not saying that you should go around telling younger people what to do. I’m talking about keeping your eyes open for moments when you can help and encourage a younger person to become the amazing person that God meant for them to be.
As for the young lady with the new cookbook. I want you to know that I can hardly wait to see what you cook first. I know you are going to feed not only stomachs but also souls with your cooking skills.
But most of all I want you to know that you touched and blessed my heart in ways you will never know this last weekend. That I consider it a overwhelming privilege to have had a small part in helping you become the best you that you can be. And that I really want that Baked Oatmeal recipe!