This is the last installment of the series which addressed the information that came out of the Organic Mentoring Conference panel discussions. Most of the previous monthly updates addressed the millennials’ answers to one of the panel questions as provided by Sue in her book. This update will address questions asked by the attendees of the Organic Mentoring Conference.
The panelists range in age from 21 to 34. All are Bible-believing Christians who love God and are actively seeking Him in their daily lives.
Question: A lot of times we, the older women, feel disrespected by millennials. We’re hearing a lot of the other way and let’s turn it around here. Because we’re not understood. Do you, young women, make an effort? Or do you respect us as well? And how would we know that?
A: Wow, you sound like my mom! Yeah, I mean I absolutely respect older women who’ve journeyed through it all. I guess our generation could probably do a better job of showing that respect. But I think it has to start somewhere. Doesn’t matter who, but it has to start somewhere; I think that it grows in a mentoring relationship. With the first person to mentor me, it wasn’t like “can I mentor you? It looks like you’re struggling.” It was: I needed to pack up a few boxes and she showed up at my house and threw some underwear in a box and that’s what started [the mentoring relationship]. It’s just being willing to help. You know, come alongside somebody and have the courage to do that. That’s really all it takes and of course I‘m going to respect someone who is gracious and kind enough to be willing to be bothered to give their time to me. This particular woman, she had two young children and I was newly married and I had all the time in the world, looking back. So the fact that she sacrificed her time maybe didn’t mean a lot then, because I wasn’t really aware of it, kind of like when you have your first child and then you have your third and you go “oh my gosh, what was I thinking? One was so easy!” The respect grows with experience. For example, before I had children I got a kitten and I was calling my mom going “Mom! I’m so sorry for all the times I wasn’t appreciative.” I mean, a cat! So, you can well imagine once I had children how much my respect grew for her. I think that even if we don’t get it in that moment, kind of like planting the seeds as someone walks their spiritual journey, our job isn’t to fix them right in that moment or convert them right in that moment, but just step out and show them respect and love. They’ll remember. It will go far.
B: We’ve seen so many people fall from grace that it’s hard [for millennials] to believe that people will actually be there for us when we need them. And we’ve experienced so many relationships with people who we were supposed to respect and who we thought were supposed to be there for us just fall apart and we realized that they had no respect for us. It’s hard for us to respect somebody just because they’re older than us, or because they’ve experienced more life than we have. And it’s not that we don’t want to respect people like that. It’s that we don’t want to give respect to people who don’t deserve it. And we don’t want to respect people simply because we think that they have some authority over us. We take issue with trying to respect people who we think do bad things. We have trouble trying to respect people when we don’t know what good things they’re doing to help others, and we’re never going to know that if we don’t get to know you, obviously. But I think that as we get to know another person, we do respond: “of course I’m going to respect you if you’re going to be caring” and “of course I want to care for you.” It’s hard to disrespect a person who is genuinely there with you. It’s hard to disrespect a person who is deserving of respect. It’s hard to be disrespectful to them and not care about them if they’re a kind and caring person.
K: I think we absolutely respect women who are involved in our lives and are caring about our needs and I don’t think any millennial would show disrespect to somebody who is truly involved and caring in their life. And I think that the struggle is coming from a place where we see a distance and we don’t understand why it’s there. And I think that the best way to overcome that is to be there with them. To show up at their house and offer to help with something. Even when your lives are busy, because that’s how you earn their respect and I think that’s maybe a difference between the generations. I think that we [millennials] have the perspective that people earn our respect by how they treat us and how they treat each other. How they treat the Lord … does the Lord truly change who they are? And I think that for our parents’ generation, respect was much more automatic. “Yes, sir. Yes, ma’am.” This is automatic. And I don’t think that that’s what we fall in line with. Respect is something that is earned and grown through relationship. Organically grown.
I hope that the insights of these millennials are helping you as you engage with the next generation!
Thank you again for your faithful prayers and your partnership in this important ministry!
Keep hoping. Keep praying. Keep loving.
Kristi, for WeConnect