Monday, July 20, 2009

Transforming Together, by Ele Parrott

I was so excited to see this new title from Moody Press, Transforming Together: Authentic Spiritual Mentoring. Based on Titus 2:3-5, author Ele Parrott sets out to write a book that teaches both the older and the younger women how to be a "Titus 2 Woman."

This is a topic near (and becoming more dear!) to my heart as I seek to grow in wisdom and maturity as a woman, wife and mother!

Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. Titus 2:3-5 (New Living Translation)
I don't know about you, but I know that I personally crave the counsel and advice of older-than-myself, godly women. I enjoy hearing the stories of experiences that older women have had within their families and own personal walk. It is encouraging and inspirational to me to learn from both the mistakes and victories that other people have experienced. Therefore I was eager to get my hands on a copy of this book.

Ele Parrott takes an approach to spiritual mentoring that is a little different than the one I have pictured in my own head so she gave me some things to think about. My only beef, if you will, of this book is that it is kinda presented as to be a valid study on spiritual mentoring to both mentors and mentees. I feel like I still fall into the "mentee" category myself so I was eager to learn more about what Titus 2:3-5 requires from the "learner" and not the "teacher." Transforming Together really focuses on what it means to be a mentor, rather than what it means to glean from one. That was a little disappointing to me but my disappointment was based on my expectations of the book alone.

Basically what Parrott does in this book is counsel women who think that they might like to be (or who know that they want to be) spiritual mentors. She admonishes/encourages them to make sure that entering into any such relationship with another women should not be based on self and on what you think you have to offer to another. It should be based on your relationship with Jesus Christ and that alone. The spiritual mentor, she says, should be in a place where it is just Jesus and them - where they rely on Jesus and find themselves desperately in need of Him. Then, and only then, will they be in an adequate position to spiritually mentor another.

Another thing that Parrott focuses on quite a bit in this book is just the practical "How-to's" of being a mentor. For example, how much time should you spend and devote to your mentee? Where should you meet? Should you spend your time talking or spend your time listening? She hits the basics of time frames, quantity of meetings and other things that are quite practical when it comes to being a mentor and what that means in terms of demands on your time and person.

Parrott presents a lot of examples of conversations and mentoring sessions that she has had with other women. The book concludes with a survey, of sorts, that she gives to twelve of the women that she has mentored to gather up their opinions and impressions of their sessions. In concluding her book this way, she offers the readers a chance to see if all that she is saying is true in what works and what does not work from a practical perspective.

Again, I thought this book was better suited towards women who are thinking that they might like to be an "official" mentor of sorts. However, I would also point out that no one really has the option as to whether or not they will be an example to others. What you say and do as a person matters and people will be watching. Actions will speak louder than words and we can all see what you are doing, even if you choose never to say anything. In other words, you might choose to spend specific amounts of time with a particular purpose in order to impart wisdom and/or pray and encourage another individual - but what you do and say publicly is exposed to the masses. Each one of us teach a message by what we do, regardless of whether or not we want to be held out as a mentor source of encouragement/example of anything!

That said, if you are considering the idea of making yourself available to devote time and energy to another women to benefit her spiritual journey, then this book offers some practical advice as to how that might be done.


Sky said...

This sounds like a good book. Perhaps all women should read it just to help us relate a bit more to each other.

mama badger said...

One of the things we Americans have forgotten is the importance of learning from the women in our family, it used to be so much a part of culture that mothers and grandmothers were around to give advice. I love that this author expounds on Titus 2.

Mirlandra said...

This is a topic I'm very interested in because I do a lot of it these days - on both ends. The book I've been reading is Leadership Coaching by Tony Stoltzfus.

He takes a lot of Biblical values and takes mentoring one step further into coaching.

I've been amazed at how much I've learned to listen actively just via the book - it's also teaching me how to ask insightful questions to really help somebody focus on what the problem is, what is really bothering them, or what is at the heart of what they are saying.

I've done a lot of streight mentoring, and one of the frustrations is that people sometimes don't seem to do a lot with the relationship. And, it's easy for the mentor to lean to much towards advice from their lens of life which sometimes doesn't fit.

I work with a lot of women older than myself and I mix some mentoring with some coaching and it gives really good results.

Thanks for sharing these two mentoring books - if I get unburied this summer I might take a look . . .

Marks of Faith said...

Sounds like a very practical read. If you ever know anyone with a trial in life and you open your ears to listen, in some way you will be "mentoring" that person. It would be good if we all listened and mentored with a greater amount of wisdom. I think this would be a wonderful book to glean from and will add it to my wish list.

Lisa Spence said...

Ooooh, I need this one! Definitely adding it to the wishlist; thanks for the review!

Transforming Together said...

My heart resonates with each comment I've read! I hear your passion, your desire to "be" in the lives of others and to have another in your life as well! May it be so!! Jesus mentored while here on earth, didn't He? We hear the questions, see the interactions, are drawn in to the relationships that are "grown" for us in the accounts found in the Gospels....and to think that the Spirit is inviting us to join Him, to be the Jr. Partner,so to speak, in lives today!! So, Ladies, let's get to it! If you have kiddos at home that's a great place to begin! If you're seeking to be mentored, ask Jesus to lead you to "that one" to mentor you! Let's get involved and grow!! On the journey with you, Ele Parott, author of "Transforming Together."

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