You have heard the old adage, “No man is an island.” It is true that none of us can be all we can be without community. I like to call it my team. Not an official team, but I am growing and progressing because of people in my life.
I believe it was business expert, Jim Rohn, who stated that who we are is the sum total of the five people we are around most. I find that a little comical when I think of the five people living in my house! However, there is truth in the fact that we are, at least in part, who we hang around.
Families, both those that live in our house and our extended family members, play a crucial part in our growth. However, all of use need mentors in various areas of life as well. The idea of mentoring is good but it sounds scary. And personal. And involved. I have decided to have some unofficial mentors in my life. We don’t have a set date on the calendar that we meet, but I have met with a few of them. Some of them I email from time to time. Some of them I just admire and want to learn from their strengths and apply them to my life.
This is just me, but I like my mentors to have experience. Many of them have white hair and wrinkles, most of them have children that have left home, all of them are miles ahead of me at least in one or two areas of life.
This year, I had some questions about going forward in my piano teaching. I have taught for seventeen years, but I wanted to focus in on some aspects and get some fresh ideas. I met with one of my former piano teachers who has been teaching for over 30 years. We enjoyed catching up, I got some new ideas and she helped me problem solve a few issues in my studio.
After a stressful couple of years, my health and weight are not what they used to be. I contacted one of the healthiest, older people I know and began a conversation about restoring my health. We spoke on the phone for over an hour as she shared techniques, resources and motivators with me to get things back on track. We check in from time to time when I have questions. She is generous in sharing her wisdom.
One older woman helped me through a parenting issue and let me know I was not alone and how she dealt with a similar situation. Another woman has been an example of selflessness in her career and relationships and a valuable resource on how to balance work and family. A veteran homeschooling mom walked me through my overwhelm about homeschooling multiple children in different grades and pointed me to some resources which have blessed our schooling.
I’ve learned about marriage by watching Godly, older people live it out. I’ve read books and articles written by experienced people. I’ve watched webinars and attended conferences. I learn from my gifted friends about how to care for my home, shop frugally and prepare nutritious meals.
No, I cannot do this alone. I am constantly in training to be the best person I am meant to be. In the remainder of this series, I will do my best to include the resources I use to help me in each area of cherishing life.
But first, I must address one more issue that isn’t quite as pleasant. What about those people who just don’t want to be on your team? The ones who don’t like you, no matter how lovingly you try to treat them? The ones who are just toxic when you try to maintain a relationship? Is that part of cherishing life? I’ll get to that tomorrow.