Role model, revisited

By Mir
January 21, 2005

So, I’m still trying to decide if I have the moral fortitude, energy, and time to be a confirmation mentor. I’ve talked with the pastor, I’ve had a discussion with the young lady’s mom (who is herself a mentor), and collected the training materials for review.

I’ve decided to come at this decision with the seriousness and precision with which I attack all of life’s big decisions. That’s right; I’ve got a big cup of coffee, some chocolate, Alison Krauss blaring from the stereo, my wicked good slippers, and I’m ready to blog all of my revelations. What better way to make up my mind?

I have a little confession to make. In my previous post, I left out what may perhaps be a salient detail. Actually, two.

The first is that I am a Methodist, not a Catholic. My understanding of Catholicism is that purely by virtue of having divorced I’ve reserved a spot for myself in hell (nevermind everything I did in my life up to the age of twenty or so). We Methodists are a warm, fuzzy, forgiving bunch… the well-meaning but somewhat lazy branch of Protestantism, you might say. God loves everyone! Seek and ye shall find! Probably we didn’t inhale much! Etc.

The second detail that I left out, I omitted on purpose; and I’m not really sure why. I think I may have been wanting some feedback apart from this particular bit of information, or maybe I was still just feeling sort of overwhelmed.

Or maybe I was thinking of the recent event where I was riding along in the car with E (the young lady in question) and her mom and the conversation turned to ear piercing: E wants to get her ears pierced, and her mother has decreed that she must wait until she’s 13 (she’s 11 now). In a bit of maternal solidarity, I pointed out that I’d been made to wait until I was 14, and that 13 seemed very reasonable to me.

“But don’t you have more than just one hole in each ear?” E asked, pointing.

“Yeah, I do. When I was 14 I got just the regular pair piercing, and then I did this second one in my left ear myself, at home, a year later.” E’s mom gripped the steering wheel a little bit more tightly and gave me a sideways glance that singed my eyebrows. “AND that was a VERY STUPID THING for me to do,” I went on, quickly, “and my mother was FURIOUS and I was GROUNDED and it got all INFECTED and then I DIED. So don’t do that.” E giggled and rolled her eyes while her mother snorted.

And we all know that a little bit of laughter goes a long way with me in terms of drawing out my inner NAUGHTY CHILD. Had I stopped there, it would’ve been okay, probably. BUT NO. Foot in mouth? Surely you jest. I can cram my entire leg in there without batting an eyelash, you amateur.

I waited until E’s giggles were waning to add, “But I didn’t get my navel pierced until I was out of college.” There may have been an audible CLUNK as her jaw hit her lap, but I was too busy saying OWWWWW because her mother HIT me.

This is the child they want me to mentor. She is bright, and sweet, and impressionable, and thinks I’m “cool.” Her mom is a dear friend but thinks I overshare sometimes.

She’s also the pastor’s daughter. Ooops!

Of course, that’s why I say things like that in front of her. But is also why I am perhaps feeling the weight of this responsibility even more than if she were someone else. Go figure.

Anyway. I can already see that it’s going to be a constant battle to set my mind to the task at hand. My Mentor’s Guide of “Making Disciples” starts out with the following gem:

What a task! You are invited to begin your mentoring with God as your focus!

Now, I have a couple of problems here. First, I’m not down with the overzealous use of exclamation points unless it’s truly necessary, such as to discuss Target clearance or cute shoes. Second, oh, the syntax. I’m invited to begin my mentoring with God as my focus? Because there’s an alternate guide that suggests I start my mentoring with the classic “Do you ever have that not-so-fresh feeling?” line? Or, I should begin my mentoring with God as the focus, but later we can talk about how burning an Eggo waffle in the toaster will sufficiently cover up the scent of… ummm… other smoke?

I think I’m going to need more coffee.


  1. Amanda B.

    You are so funny, i’m sitting here giggling like a crazy person, alone in my office. My coworkers are probably calling 911 right about now.

    The coffee, the chocolate, and Allison Krauss? I think I love you. But not in a gay way not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    At least you didn’t mention that “episode in college with the ‘insert: guy, road trip, bender, etc”. Could have been worse. :)

  2. Julie


    I do feel the need to clarify soemthing — I’m an adult convert to Catholicism (did my time in the evangelical world, thank you very much) and I’m always amused when people equate Catholicism with, “you did THAT? Well, YOU’RE going to HELL!” I heard WAY more of that kind of talk when I was Protestant, to tell you the truth. The Church in no way teaches that Divorce=going to Hell, and I’m kinda grieved that someone, somewhere gave you that impression. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Really.

  3. Amy

    I’m a methodist, too…btw, do you know the difference between a methodist and a beptist? The methodist will look you in the eye and say hello if you run into them at the liquor store.
    Seriously, I think the kid will be lucky to have a mentor who understands that being a Christian isn’t always about being sweetness and light…there’s a mean old world out there, and people aren’t perfect. But having God in your life certainly makes the trip bearable! Personally I think that’s an excellent lesson to learn while you’re young…AND she thinks you’re cool. Sounds like a perfect match!

  4. Ben

    I’m good enough.
    I’m strong enough.
    And Gosh darnit, people like me.

    I wouldn’t tell the poor girl about the bacon thing. Not until she’s 13 or so.

  5. Busy Mom

    Oh, pshaw! You’re only going to hell if you remarry without an annulment.

  6. Psycho Kitty

    Sounds like her parents know you pretty well. And you said they both approved her request for you. I think you sound like the perfect mentor. Think about it…you aren’t someone who’s in the church because you were raised to be there; you made a choice to be there. You’ve been through a lot of crap in your life and managed to find a way to gain strength from your faith instead of losing it or twisting into something narrow-minded and punitive. You’re “cool” enough that the kid might actually *listen* to you when you say something’s a bad idea.
    Just 2 cents from another divorced Methodist single mom who suffers from Catholic guilt.

  7. Kym

    Hmmm. I always have to refill otu my name, email and URL for your comments. Do you have a cookie problem or is it just me?

    And am I the only other Lazy Methodist who found that comment hysterical?

    I think you should go for it. Let’s face it… there are so many worse things for them to REALLY get worried about other then a belly button ring. Muhahahaha

  8. Suzanne

    making a difference in a young person’s life is an awesome thing. She already thinks you’re cool so she’s bound to listen to what you have to say. Especially when it’s silly, or funny…so long as you remember to let her know you’re kidding of course!

  9. susan

    Not to start a religous war but I was ‘almost a Catholic’ (don’t ask long story) and I agree the divorce won’t send you to hell but the remarriage might -ADULTERER. On the other hand, since your marriage was never blessed by THE CHURCH, maybe the 1st one doesn’t count. Though, on the other hand (is that 3 hands yet?) you know what that does to your children – poor things were born out of wedlock. Seriously though, you’ll find different opinions on all that depending on which priest you talk to.

  10. Mike

    Am I the only one here focused on…you’ve got a pierced navel??? Just when you think you know someone…they go and give you another image you shouldn’t be picturing! Really. Should NOT.

  11. Kris

    Burning a waffle would do that? (slaps forehead) Man, if I’d only known…

  12. Chewie

    If I were you…wish I’m glad I’m not…and I’m betting you are equally glad you are not me at this point…


    I would wait to see how this job pans out. I would leave myself some freedom to adjust to the new schedule and timelines. You will hopefully be very very busy soon. How much time does this mentoring take? *Grin* This has NOTHING to do with your worth…it is about not maxing out your life once you are in the midst of the new job.

  13. alektra

    So’s you know, I think the best people to “spread the word” are the people who are REAL and normal people. It’s too hard to be “perfect”. And you’re doing an amazing job about caring about your faith and love for God. I’d pick you over somebody who dresses in sweater sets and was a virgin until marriage, etc anyday. I mean, look who JESUS hung out with. He couldn’t stand holy rollers, either! ;)

    As to the Catholic stuff:

    Um, my mom? Is not going to hell. And I? Am not a bastard. I joke about it sometimes, but by definition, I am not a bastard. God bless the American media for continually twisting the Catholic Church’s views so that we sound like we’re the most idiotic idea since… oh, I don’t know, David Koresh.

  14. Jules

    At what age would I be considered too old to be mentored? Cuz I’ve been thinking I could use some :D

    Ohh wait, you’ve been doing that with me for years haven’t you?

    Heeee!!! Cool!!!! :D

  15. Jennifer

    You should do it. What a way to guarantee yourself to get a job by taking on something else first. Murphy’s Law or something like that.
    Seriously, I think that from reading your blogs you’re a great parent and a great role model. Don’t sweat it and jump in.

  16. carson

    At least you didn’t show her your tongue piercing. That would automatically disqualify you! (And my tongue is firmly in my cheek.)

  17. Karry

    Hey, I was raised baptist – not that it matters, and I had a mentor type person. It’s really not as scary as you think. What I got out of it was someone ADULT that I could relate to on a friendship level rather than GROWN-UP to CHILD. If she wanted to talk about God, we talked about God, If I wanted to ask her about kissing a boy, we talked about kissing a boy. It was good to have a person to talk to that was not my parents and wouldn’t rat me out for small infractions (You told your teacher your mother did WHAT?)

    My mentor put a different spin on things than my mother did and helped me think about them from another perspective. Also, if she repeated what my parents said, I was more apt to listen.

    We met once a month and did a bible-study geared to youth, then just hung out for a while. I babysat her kids, she took me to the movies. She taught me how to make puppy chow (mmm chocolatey peanutbuttery puppychow)

    Anyhow – I think you will have a blast. Go for it. You’ll do fine.

  18. jayme

    that is hilarious! i absolutely love your writing style! Great! Hmmm… too many exclamations?

  19. Thumper

    Well…now I know why my son kept burning things in the toaster. I need to hunt his ass down and beat it. He could have shared!

  20. rudolf

    First, I think you’re a lot like me in this respect, besides also being Methodist, that you may be silly, and perhaps dangerously irreverent, but deep down inside, on the things that are really important, you know what’s right and what’s wrong, and you do what’s right. Or at least try really hard.

    Second, one of the first things I learned when I started hanging around Methodists, is that the pastor is just a human being, just like everyone else. And so is their family. With all of the failings and troubles that any other person or family might have. Quite a radical change in thought for this recovering Catholic. So I wouldn’t be intimidated by that. It may be the fact that you don’t normally *act* at all intimidated by that which makes you a good candidate for a mentor.

    Last, she is a bright kid growing up in today’s society, attending public school…I’m sure she’ll be harder to truly shock than you think.

    I say go for it.

  21. Sheryl

    Okay, all levity aside, isn’t it your job as a mentor to point the girl toward God? Our quest as Christians is for deeper reliance upon God, not moral fortitude. (Hopefully that’s thrown in the mix somewhere, but I know a lot of people who aren’t Christians who are way more moral than I.)

  22. jilbur

    I don’t know what mentoring means to the people who have chosen you … but here is how I would see it, if I had to choose an adult outside my family: I’d want someone with whom my child could feel a real connection, who I also knew at heart held deeply the spiritual principles that I wanted my child to share. It seems as though part of the point is that relationships with parents are, for that age, so cluttered with other baggage, that it helps to bring someone fresh into the mix for the child to look to … and all this is to say, if I were these parents, I’d choose you in a heartbeat.

Things I Might Once Have Said


Quick Retail Therapy

Pin It on Pinterest