By Pastor Paula Burchill
The time between Mother’s and Father’s Days, I always think a lot about my parents and how grateful for them I am. This year I read an interesting blog encouraging people to also think about Mentor Parents in their lives and to be thankful for them as well.
I’m thankful for Julie, who when I was in high school, always opened her home to kids. My friends and I spent many hours hanging out in their basement, with a fridge stocked with mountain dew. I am grateful for Jerry, who always said, “the best gift you can give your kids is a good marriage,” and whose advice I aspire to. I’m grateful to Amy, who when I was in college and wondering about seminary, but also freaking out about the lifelong commitment, told me, “You know, you can always quit if you don’t like it or it isn’t for you.” It was like that comment freed me to go and give it a try.
These mentors are teachers, parents of friends, relatives. It is such a blessing to have other adults fill important roles in our lives. It is something I pray for for my kids, and one of the things about going to church I love the most—there are mentor parents all over the place.
The mentors in my life seem to have something in common. They have been able to look at life and take it for what it is, and then to help me not get too worked up about stuff–to stay the course. They helped me focus on what is important, and I really believe God placed them in my life.
Which leads me to Michael Bennett, of the Seattle Seahawks. The Hawks are in the sports news for having a volatile locker room, especially since the Super Bowl loss. Many marvel at how Pete Carroll seems to almost invite his players to show their diverse personalities. To be who they are, even knowing that that makes it harder for the team. There are other coaches who don’t seem to allow the individual personalities of their players to shine like Carroll does, and they aren’t in the news for volatile locker rooms. But Carroll seems to thrive on that diversity and volatility.
Michael Bennett is certainly a colorful personality, to say the least, and he is one of my favorites. He is always saying something, sometimes inappropriately, but he seems to speak from his heart, and he is volatile. It gets him in trouble. I imagine he might not always be easy to have around.
I am thinking about how Pete Carroll’s locker room philosophy might be an important one for a lot of us to think about, because in life there are a lot of diverse and hard personalities. Some of us have children that are difficult. That is why I believe God gives us other people to help us out. I was able to talk to my mentor parents about things I just couldn’t always talk to my parents about. And I was able to be different with them than I thought I had to be around my parents.
When you read through the gospels, there isn’t much about the individual personalities of the disciples, but we do get a few glimpses. Peter was stubborn, Thomas was a whiner, the “beloved disciple” was a brown-noser, and Judas…well, Judas betrayed Jesus.
And if you think about it, all of us have our difficulties. There is no such thing as a conflict free locker room, a conflict free relationship, a conflict free family, or a conflict free life.
That is why we have to lean on those people who mentor us,no matter how old we are. Those people who remind us of what is important in life. Those people who let us be who we are and then encourage us to stick with our team. Because we are surely all in this beautiful, hard, and volatile life together.