ANSWERS & ADVICE: "Older Women, Teach the Younger Women..."

So we have a good question up for discussion today... it involves the practical application of a very important passage of Scripture addressing us as Christian women-- Titus 2:3-5. Here it is for your quick reference:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
Here's today's question:
I am a 45 year old woman and am trying to be very purposeful in fulfilling the Titus 2 mandate of older women teaching the younger women. I remember what it was like as a young mom, wishing there were some older women who would take an interest in me. Although there were a few, at times I felt alone. I have not forgotten what that felt like, and now have made it my goal to reach out to as many younger women as I can. In doing this I have run into some things that I did not anticipate, and I am wondering if you might have some ideas as to how I can effectively reach out and minister to younger women, and how to deal with some of the things I have experienced.

There are times when I have had young moms over and their children are completely out of control. It makes it hard to talk or think! I have had little children stand on my couch and jump up and down...and the mom thought it was cute. I have had them help themselves to things in my home, and the parent not even correct them. I do not expect perfection, as I know that they are learning, but it seems like most "church" moms are not spanking and disciplining their children. They normally tell me how they are working with their children, and what they are telling me is not biblical discipline. They are being "controlled" by their toddlers, and they don't even know it! There are times when they will make a comment about my older children and how they want their children to be like mine...but when I tell them about how we spanked and that I was home a lot in order to train my children, they are not interested in hearing that. They perceive it as being "too much". They seem to want the fruit, but dont want to go through the process!

The other thing I have experienced is that many younger women only want to be with peers and bounce things off them. They do not seem interested in spending time with someone they see as "old". Recently I invited a local "moms group" to have their monthly meeting in my home. I wanted to pamper them and do something special to encourage them. I served some fun brunch food and coffee. I put together a gift bag for each mom. I tried to make my home welcoming and to reach out to them. My 18 year old daughter was here to help with the children so that the mom's could relax. We were all ready. They arrived...and I was pretty much ignored the entire morning. I would attempt to make conversation with them,but they were not interested. They spent the time talking among themselves. I also struggled a little as moms changed dirty diapers on my new couch, fed a one year old red yogurt on my furniture, a two year old ate a strawberry on the couch...and everyone thought it was fine. The meeting ended, they left, I shut door, and felt a real sense of disappointment.

I even had a young mom tell me once that she couldn't stand being around older women because all they wanted to do was teach her!

So, what is an older woman to do? How are we supposed to deal with having little children in our homes who are not controlled? Should I say something, or stay quiet for the sake of attempting to "minister"? How can we reach out to young women who are not interested? In this day and age I am finding that the mind set of young moms is quite different than it was when my children were little. It seems like they are so used to being "age segregated" that concept of spending time with those who are older than you is somewhat foreign.

Although I have had a few very special friendships with some younger women, I am finding it to be frustrating as I am finding most of them seem to know it all, and have very little use for me! I would appreciate any input or ideas as to how I could more effectively reach out to the young women of this generation!

Thank you!
Gina

So, Making Home readers, what's your response for Gina? Especially those of you young moms who have (here at MH & at other online locales) asked for and bemoaned the lack of Titus 2 women in your life?

70 comments:

Candy said...

I have to say I'm glad someone said it! I am usually a lurker on most of the blogs I read, but I couldn't help but respond to this wonderful woman's question. I am a 25 year old stay at home mom with a toddler so I'm on the other end of the spectrum, but I too have experienced some of these rude encounters. Unfortunately, my generation thinks we have it all figured out.

I think most of our generation has barely a clue on how to act in another’s home. My generation has not been raised where there were visitors in and out and my mother was hardly ever a "hostess." I think more than anything we need to hears (by you posting this wonderful question) that our behavior is appalling. I personally have lead a young women's bible study in my home for about two years and from the very beginning I asked two of the older ladies in our church to come be our Titus 2 women, kind of like a "house momma." I have received more instruction and growth during this weekly 2 hours than in the 13 years I've been in a very biblical based teaching church. I glean everything I can from these ladies, respect them as my mothers, and yet I still find myself missing the mark on "manners" sometimes. Fortunately, I have wonderful women who know I'm a work in progress and call me out on it, gently. This correction most always takes place in a one-on-one setting. I have been taught on a range of issue on disciplining my children (and I listen because I see the fruit of the women in their kids), manners, serving, walking with God through a trial.

As for the discipline...this is a hard subject to address, because you will not be able to change someone's opinion just by words on this issue. I have heard many reasons why other moms do not spank, but when you try to talk about it you hit a brick wall. You are right though, there are a lot of moms out there who don't want to fight for raising there children not only the right way, but God's way.

I'd say if there is a women's meeting in your church ask the director to host an evening to talk about the Titus 2 mandate. Ask her, or teach it yourself, to address it from both sides: how to cultivate this kind of relationship, how to graciously except correction, the wisdom these ladies hold, and of course God’s design for us to serve others in this capacity. One has to find value in wisdom before they’ll ever accept it, and unfortunately our generation has really missed this message.

I’d also like to say that it doesn’t matter what age you are you should have both one woman you look to for guidance and another you continually try to encourage that is younger. There are many women in our churches that need friendships and relationships that build us up on the Rock. When we get our minds focused on someone else’s need (whether they know it or not) we start to serve instead of dwelling in the mind set of “me, me.” This is both rewarding, yet dangerous, so press on and press in! Sorry this is so long, but it’s a subject dear to my heart.

Laura said...

This makes me so angry. Here I am, praying so hard for an older woman to come along and mentor me, and these ungrateful girls don't even know what they have. I want someone so badly to teach me and to encourage me in my walk as a wife and mother and there is just NO ONE. I would encourage Gina to keep doing what she is doing because maybe there will ONE girl like me who wants instruction and if she can help that ONE girl, then in my opinion, she has done her job as an older woman. But maybe instead of bringing in groups of uninterested women, find a couple of young women who DO want her help and instruction and just focus on them. I think it's pointless to try and teach the unteachable. As far as I am concerned, if they are not interested, then don't bother.

Susanna said...

I think what is saddest of all about this is that the young ladies referred to seem to be very worldly in their outlook and not God centered. I am a young (well, ok, almost 30) stay at home mummy here in the UK. I am blessed with great role models in my own mum and mother in law who are believers so I know my outlook may already be different. I just cannot get my head around the rudeness that seems to have been displayed. I am always concerned about how my boys behave when we are at someone elses house. Gina, maybe pray to the Lord that He would guide you to specific ladies in need. It seems to me that the majority of these ladies are lacking in Godly teaching and wisdom and this should be coming from the pulpit. Maybe this just hi lights a sad trend in our young people today- after all they probably had these attitudes before they became mums. I must confess to merrily changing a nappy in someones house without thinking 'oops, maybe I should go somewhere else'. Sometimes it is just a lack of thought- I know I never intend to offend. What you are doing is invaluable though and I am so thankful that you have a heart for these young ladies. Afterall, if they do not raise their children in a Godly manner there will be many struggles ahead for them (there will be struggles even if they do). Sometimes the Lord lays something on our hearts but wants us to do it in a different way. He will homour your desire to serve Him. My heart feeloing is that these young ladies need to go back to scripture and have it impressed on them that it is to be obeyed and emulated- not just used to suit.
On another note, is possible to get alongside families rather than groups? Invite a family to lunch on a Sunday or something like that. If you ccan build up individual relationships based on friendship rather than just advice givign then it may spread and be more beneficial. Also children are likely to behave better in a slightly more formal setting with mum and dad there.

madgebaby said...

I think this is a legitimate struggle with two sides. YES, far too many people have badly behaved children and have never had expectaions of etiquette themselves, and are just plain rude.

However, if it is all about spanking or not spanking, that's a wierd line to draw in the sand. We don't spank because there is no evidence that it is helpful (in our own family as well as in the literature) and plenty of evidence that it is harmful. I've also heard plenty of sort of backhanded comments in church settings about "those young moms" who don't let there kids have cool aid or who breastfeed who don't spank or whatever. These kind of differences shouldn't get between us but they do.

as someone who is sort of in the middle as far as age and age of children goes, I think that some humility and modeling on all sides would be helpful. I think there has to be a baseline of mutual respect before these kind of relationship can happen.

Perhaps ideally the young would just do what the older women said without question, but what can I say, we live in a broken world and we all have wounds.

lizzykristine @ Uplifted Eyes said...

As a young woman who has had several women attempt the Titus 2 thing with me:

Some women have desired to mentor me and started off by taking me out or inviting me over, and then giving advice right away. We had little or no relationship prior to that, so the advice came across as if she thought she knew it all and that I was doing a terrible job. I know they were trying to fulfill Titus 2, but they came across as being more interested in their mentoring than in me as a person. It takes an extremely humble person to accept advice that comes in that package. :)

On the other hand, several other women have expressed an interest in me as a friend. We get together, laugh, talk, and have fun. They love on me, care for me, and even call me after doctor appointments to find out how I am. In all of their cases combined, I can count on my fingers how many times they've given advice. And I can't remember a time they advised without my asking for it. But those few times, I've really listened and been deeply impacted. I count those women as such dear friends that I hardly think of them as mentors, but I've learned buckets of stuff by just watching their life, more than I could have learned by listening to them talk. :)

Having them over with little gifts sounds so lovely -- want to move to Arkansas?! You might consider just continuing to love on them as you have been, and listen to them. If it was an established group of friends, it will take lots of patience to break into the group and be accepted. If they'll let you, just listen to their conversations until you start to know them enough to compassionately ask about things going on in their lives. Hold off on any verbal advice until they feel comfortable enough with you to ask for it or at least not be threatened by it.

If I were perfect, I would take everyone's advice gladly! :) But honestly, I've found that how well I ingest advice is directly related to how aware I am of the advice-giver's love for me.

People may think they have their life together, but hardly anyone can resist being loved on for year after year. :) And when it someday dawns that they don't know everything, they'll almost always turn to the person who loves them for help. It might just take several years.... On behalf of young women everywhere who do love having older women in their life: thanks for caring, Gina!!

Sarah and Ryan said...

I do not post often either, but I enjoyed today's discussion. It made me wish I knew Gina personally.

I am a young married woman with my first little one on the way. We expect him at the end of this year, and we are praising God for His blessing!

I too have grieved the lack of Titus 2 ministry in our churches. True Titus 2 ministry. As a young woman who longs for older women like Gina, I praise the Lord when I hear that there are women who desire to minister in this way. I pray that He will awaken the older women to be as intentional as she is.

It seems to me that part of the problem in establishing real, vibrant, Titus 2 kind of relationships is how incredibly busy we all are today. I have noticed that even among women who are blessed to stay home with their children, we choose to fill our days with constant activity. To me, this prevents many opportunities for older and younger women to build relationships (leading to the type of instruction we younger women so desperately need). I think that we young women are often so accustomed to constant activity that we cannot imagine life lived in a much simpler fashion. And simplicity is exactly what I think Titus 2 instruction requires.

As for thoughts on how Gina can better reach our younger generation...

I agree with some of the others who have suggested that you pray for specific young women who have a heart to receive your teaching. We are out here, praying for women like you too!

I appreciate your desire not to offend the young mothers you want to reach. I also appreciate your desire to feed us the truth. I agree with others who say that relationships are key here. If you can build relationships with young women and establish your love for them in the Lord, your teaching (however stern it may need to be) may be more well received. (As to HOW to establish these relationships, all I can think of is just praying fervently for opportunities. I know that it is a difficult thing to do.)

Those are some of my thoughts on the matter. I will be praying as I pray for Titus 2 ministry in my own life. It all goes back to praying for women on both sides of the equation. I know that only the Lord can change the hearts of young women and open our eyes to the truth of His word. Only He can open our hearts to receive the gracious teaching of older women. God had to do a major work in my heart to fill me with passion for my roles as wife and mom, and He has done this in me! So I firmly believe He is able to accomplish this work in other young women as well!

Thank you for being so passionate about fulfilling His Titus 2 calling for you!

Gina@Chats With An "Old Lady" said...

I have appreciated all the suggestions so far, and want to emphasize that I am not sitting here waiting to"give out advice", nor do I look down on this generation. I am very aware that everyone is at a different place in thier process of growth and we are all learning. All of us. Especially me! My letter was written with some discouragement and frustration as I have attempted to just reach out and serve...and build relationships. I do not know it all and do not want it to come across that way at all. I am just wanting to find out how I can best serve, and how much to say...and what to let go. I know that young moms sometimes do things out of habit, and just aren't thinking (ie. changing the diaper on my couch etc.) I am happy to let some things go and show grace. But when this type of thing happens so much, I sometimes just don't know how to handle it.

God Bless.

Brandy said...

I would like to make a comment about the spanking no spanking rule really quickly. I think discipline should include a lot of things and spanking is not the only thing that we do. But, when people talk about it harming children and seeing no real benefit I think it is because of a misunderstanding of how spanking is supposed to work. It is not "hitting a child in anger", but rather disciplining in love. Something like this..."Sweetie, mommy does not want to spank you, but what did you just do? Did you bite your brother? Yes, you did and what does God say about that kind of behavior? We should not treat our brother that way should we? Now, I am going to give you one spanking on the bottom so that next time you think about biting you will remember how being selfish and mean to your brother results in a hurting bottom." I hold them in my lap and count to three so they know when it is coming and give them one hard swat. Then I promptly sweep them up and love on them and comfort them and tell them it is all over and all better. They say they are sorry and ask for forgiveness. We pray together and ask for God's forgiveness and then make things right with their brother. This kind of discipline is a blessing because it does not linger on and on. They get the spanking in the context of a loving relationship and then it is DONE.

One last comment is that Proverbs is full of vivid language about discipline. Some of it might even make us feel uncomfortable. Proverbs 23:13-14 Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell.

Now I will say straight off that I am not encouraging you to beat your child! :0) But my point is that God knows that we as a people are bent on sin and the quickest and easiest way to train a child to obey is to cause them some physical pain in the context of a loving relationship.

Leanne said...

As a "young-ish" (I'm 32!) woman who is hoping to have kids soon, let me share from my own experience on the flip side:

GO FOR IT! But here are a few tips:

1. Do it out of genuine love and friendship, not out of "duty" or obligation. We see the difference!

2. Do not go into the relationship with preconceived ideas. Not everyone thinks like you, or even processes ideas the same way you do.

3. Understand that there are those of us who are not looking for a "2nd parent," but a friend. You can still be a mentor and an influence in someone's life without feeling at though you need to "reparent" them.

4. Do not repeatedly ask the childless young women, "When are you going to have kids?" It's an awkward question to have to answer, no matter what the situation.

5. If someone truly does not want to be mentored by you, let them go. God sees your heart, and will bring someone into your life that you can have a positive influence on.

6. Expect "messes." Both literal and figurative. Friendship is messy, and it is a lot easier to just have a shallow relationship with someone that you are not truly invested in. And if you are befriending someone with small kids, they may occasionally spill on your carpet or furniture. To tell you the truth, there are klutzy adults (Uh...who, me? Never...lol!!!) who have been known to trip and spill and make messes as well :o).

Some of us "young punks" really do want to learn. We just want to feel like the relationship is genuine. That you are interested in us as a human being, not just as a "project." We want to know that you are going to care about us and continue the relationship even if we disagree with you on a point or two.

Keep doing what you're doing - there are so many "older" ladies in churches whose attitude is, "I've done my time - go away!" It is a blessing to find someone who is willing to share their expertise and wisdom with the younger generation :o).

Jennifer said...

Those women were blessed and didn't even know it. I would love to have someone mentor me!!! I think nowadays people are just too proud to think they even need help. They don't want someone "older" telling them what to do.

I can't even find ONE PERSON who thinks verses like this in the Bible are important. They think staying at home with your children was for "back then" and not applicable to all times. Out of all the women I know, one mom stayed at home to raise her children full time. I found out this summer that ALL of my friends (barring the stay at home mom) are on antidepressants. I feel so bad for them. All I feel I can do is pray for them and let God lead them to talk with me if He wants me to.


I guess I am not too helpful. I would just say that I would just pray and have God bring the women to me, not to search themselves out on my own.

Toby & Kelly said...

Gina,
I would like to personally thank you for the incredible effort you have made to shepherd and bless the young moms of your area, and apologize for the way you've been taken advantage of and marginalized. I have 4 under 6 (much like Jess!) and though they are not perfect, my husband and I endeavor to train them in righteousness. That includes simply courtesy and training in how to behave around others. It makes me think about so many parents that think that biblical discipline is 'too much' - more than likely, they've never encountered it!
Please, I beg of you, do not let the blissful ignorance of some discourage you from the ministry of Titus 2 - we still need you, and He will be faithful to bless and reward your sacrifices!
Kelly

Mrs. Santos said...

Please continue to reach out. Please continue to be an example. Please expect the mothers to control their children. Gently tell them where they can change their children and no food in the living room. Set your expectations high and continue to reach out...we need you. There will be a day when these young ladies will not want their ears tickled and will hunger after the truth...and they will go out and BUY it. They will come to you for the TRUTH.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatian 6:9

I think older women need to be direct. There will be some young women who turn away because it is not comfortable; but for others it may be a relief - almost like a spanking to get them to turn and begin learning. God bless you. You can come on over to my house anytime...I need all the help I can get.

Mrs. Santos

Catherine R. said...

Gina, I would love to be at your house and learn from you. I wish I was fortunate enough to live close by like these women.

I long for Titus 2 women, even though I have been trained in age segregation my whole life. Also, I want to be the "old fashioned" kind of mom, not the kind that thinks her toddler pooping on someone's couch is "cute" and "natural" (oh brother!)

I have women at my church who I will continue to persue a connection with. I always want them to be my mom. I have no advice but I just wanted to say be encouraged : )

Jeremy said...

A quick comment about spanking, because I believe this is at the heart of the failure of many parents.

The biblical literature says that spanking you child is helpful and not necessarily harmful. To wit:

Proverbs 22.15: "Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.

Proverbs 29.15a: "The rod and reproof give wisdom."

Proverbs 23.13-14: "Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol."

Etc.

And sound biblical scholarship says that these passages are talking about literal spankings. Don't buy into the sentimental pop-interpretations which say that the rod is figurative. To be sure, the Proverbial rod of discipline implies more than literal spankings. But not less.

The Scriptures teach us that there is a connection between the heart and the backside (Prov 22.15; Ex 21.20). If you spank with something that inflicts real pain -- and if you accompany the spankings with hugs and kisses and assurance of forgiveness -- then I think you will find that the biblical literature is on to something.

Of course, spankings that are not painful are not helpful, and spankings that are not bathed in love and prayer and restoration are indeed harmful. The "literature" and "evidence" to which Madgebaby refers probably reflects those who spank mostly out of frustration rather than out of love and who fail to resolve the discipline with restoration (as well as those who don't really leave a lasting impression on their children's bottoms, of course). Every spanking should be a ritual that ends with genuine restoration and genuine smiles. I try to have my boys laughing before it's over with.

Proverbs 13.24: "He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently."

The deep desire to avoid causing one's child serious pain should not be confused with deep love for the child. And make no mistake about it: Those of us who spank our children generally have the same innate desire to avoid inflicting pain on their children as those who do not spank.

But we must overcome our sentimentalism and help our children put their flesh to death. Helping our children overcome their flesh means first overcoming the world, our flesh, and the devil, all of which try to tell us (through innate sentimentalism and sentimental literature) that biblical wisdom is pas·sĂ©. It's not, and there is plenty of evidence and literature that demonstrates this.

Fwiw.

Peace of Christ,

Jeremy

Valerie said...

I think that Gina makes some very good points regarding the "mentality" of the younger generation (I am in my late 40's and have a college-age daughter and two teen sons). One of my thoughts on this matter may have some relevance---Could it be that years and years of segregated teaching within the church (ie youth groups) has caused young women to ignore the wisdom of those who are older? Young women aren't used to gleaning from that wisdom, because they have mostly spent time (and received help and input) from their peers. Sad--and not God's plan. I know how much I have received from watching, asking questions of and learning from older women---both "real-life" friends and also "author" friends (godly books).

Perhaps, some of these things might work:
one-on-one entertaining (the young woman couldn't igunore you if you are the only other one there) OR purposefully planned "agenda" that the young women know about ahead f time. ("I am inviting some young women over for tea so that I can talk about some wisdom I have learned as a mom. Would you like to come?" Then have a little bit of "open chat time" before calling everyone to order and beginning your talk---surely you would get questions. Maybe it would be good to have a couple/few like-minded older women. (like a panel discussion) As the younger women hear the same truths from several different ladies, they may take more of the wisdom to heart.

I think you could even sweetly and gently state some "ground rules" for the gathering at the beginning of the time--"No jumping on my couch, children with food in the living room, etc" Then the young ladies may be more aware of/in tune with your expectations and their children's behavior.

Gina--You are a God-send to these young women. May He give you wisdom as you continue to persevere in ministering to them!!

Note for Laura above--there are some great mothering books that might encourage you---that is almost like having a woman in your life to mentor you. I can give you some great titles, if you leave me a note.

Thanks, Jess, for providing this forum. I love your blog and appreciate your insights. You are a neat young woman!!

realmomma said...

Well, I believe the Titus 2 woman is supposed to teach the younger women to love their children and their husbands and to keep their homes. Sounds like you have a perfect opportunity to do just that if you can find the right way to do it. I always respond best to encouragement rather than correction. If you maybe just strike up a conversation about disciplining the children focused primarily on consistency rather than method. I think any form of discipline can be effective if it's truly consistent. You could strike up a conversation about housekeeping and care of the home in which you address how to keep furniture and carpet and such looking nice and how this is one way a wife shows her husband that she loves him.

I guess the key might be to act rather than to react. Don't enter into the conversation in reaction to what you see going on in the middle of your get together. Rather, at the beginning of the next meeting, take action by beginning such conversations at the on-set. That way it looks like helpful conversation rather than irritated correction.

LB said...

I am a new commenter, and I LOVE this blog. I am a young mom--26--to a 13 month old, and I am in desperate need of older women to guide me and teach me and share their wisdom. I am blessed to have several women a few years ahead of me, but I don't have any much older. In reading this question, I somewhat sense a lack of grace and mercy. There is no doubt that if I brought my 13 month old over to someone's house, I would make some obvious mistakes and the 13 month old would not act perfectly--the very reason I NEED someone older to guide me. I just know that as a mom I need much encouragement and KIND correction. I would want to feel free to share my mistakes and struggles. I don't know if this makes sense? I think there has to be the realization that a young mom is going to make mistakes, hence the need for the older teaching the younger.

Polly said...

I have been praying in earnest for a Titus 2 woman to enter my life. My mother died when I was 23 and I've longed for the influence of an older, godly Christian woman. I could really USE a friendship like this and have been praying about it for some time. My grandmother is the closest person I have and I have been so grateful for her wisdom and guidance over the past 15 months.

So I think that in this situation the younger women's behavior was quite rude. (I think everyone knows not to change diapers on others' sofas...and to respect other people's furniture and 'stuff' especially around messy toddlers!--but I suppose everyone doesn't know!) Though I would not want anyone--an older woman or younger woman--to TELL me how to raise my children, I would take it upon myself to make sure they behaved when they were guests in a house.

Spanking v. non-spanking can be a huge issue--my parents did NOT spank and my sister and I turned out quite well (if I do say so myself) so in my opinion it is not necessary--but that's what I believe for *my* family. I think older AND younger women have to respect the others' child-rearing practices even if they are not in agreement. I can tell you without any hesitation that if my sister or I had jumped on sofas, helped ourselves to items at others' homes, etc we would have been disciplined. But quite frankly, it would not have happened in the first place. My parents had 'control' over us and I think so far I have it over my son as well.

I think Gina was unfortunately in contact with a group of inconsiderate women. It is amazing to me that they were like this, although given some behavior I've seen from others in my generation I can't say I'm totally surprised. There are women out there who would love to have a Titus 2 role model (me! me!) and whether or not we agree or disagree on spanking would be no big deal--particularly because I feel like I've got tools, thanks to my parents, about how to discipline my child without needing spanking. But if someone else spanks, it doesn't bother me. To each her own.

My own Titus 2 woman would probably be *most* helpful to me in encouragement, helping me determine how to make the most out of my daily routine and life, how to disciple to my children, and so on.

Brenda said...

There is so much to say about this but I have very little time...

let me say that I think Gina really hit on something when she talked about these moms being used to being age-segregated. Thank you. They have been their whole lives. Our church just a few months ago mixed up the small groups where we have a great variety of ages in each group instead of "Young Families", "Mature Families", "Empty Nesters", and "Retired Age." It's so much better! I am sure they know of no other way.
I'm horrified hearing about the young moms behavior and the allowance of their children's behavior. We truly have become far too casual in our society.

What a sad letter.

hopeathome said...

Our church mums group has been working through the Discipline course by Focus on the Family, which has really opened up the whole topic for honest, fruitful communication.
I'm a younger stay at home mum too, but I've also been disappointed/felt hurt by others lack of desire for discipleship and guidance in their lives. For me, the best thing has just been to step back and pray, and pray and pray, and not be desperate to just "do" something, but wait for the Lord to work on a young woman's heart, or to highlight to me a particular woman He wants me to spend time with, instead of many.

Mx5 said...

I'm a 46 yr. old mother of 5 children. I'm a pastor's wife, a homeschooler, and a MOPS mentor mom.

I have had the wonderful privilege of meeting many young moms.

The original question / post of Gina above got me to thinking. My role as an older mom, with regard to Titus 2, isn't just to seek out younger moms to instruct. That is what we're to do, but for what purpose? To have behaving children? To be loving wives? To teach others how to love? Those things can be fruit of walking in Titus 2 principles, but the reason we do it and walk in this way toward our own families is to bring glory and honor to Christ, that the word of God may not be reviled. When we walk in affection toward our husbands and children, when we're calm, gentle, & caring, people around us look and say, "God is great!" When this happens, they will say, "How do you DO that?" Then we're wide open for boasting in the Lord, which if done in front of other believers, can result in them being edified / encouraged, and in front of unbelievers can open the door for sharing the gospel. I don't view Titus 2 as a mandate as much as a privilege.

On the practical front, my advice to Gina would be that if she desires Titus 2 teaching relationships with young moms, that she pray and ask God to show her whom He wants her to focus on. Change the target from trying to reach as many as possible, as in the original question, to reaching 1 or 2 moms. Then meet in a neutral place 1-on-1, not in her home, and without the kiddos, since this seems to really stress Gina out. Then she will be able to build a relationship and really listen to the young mom. Listen first - gain respect by being a calm, gentle caring person - then the Lord might open a door to actually teach, in due time.

The young mom that mentioned she didn't like hanging around older moms because all they wanted to do was teach her gave Gina some very valuable insight. Sometimes we more seasoned moms give unsolicited advice, which at the least causes some discomfort for the hearers, and at the worst might be perceived as pride. We need to be as the Proverbs 31 woman, upon whose tongue is the law of kindness. We get offended when people don't want our advice, and they get offended when we give it, then the enemy has a field day.

As for having uncontrolled little ones in an older woman's home, I think we older women need to be careful that we don't come across as valuing the house (and its order) more than the guests. Let the moms/ kids know right away when they come in where the kids may eat, etc. Smile. Be calm. If this doesn't work then don't have the kids in your home. Resist the temptation to harshly judge fellow sisters. They can sense when we're doing this. It is so important to guard one's heart, remembering that our heavenly Father is fully capable of correcting / directing His other kids. He sometimes seems to us to be slow in His correction, but isn't it wonderful that He has been slow to correct us, too?

I would urge Gina to continue be patient as she waits. Good things happen when we're forced to wait. I will admit that I hate waiting, but it does produce the peaceable fruit of patience, and much more. Ministry will happen, since it's a natural by-product of the fruit of the spirit, and it's apparent that Gina's heart is to honor God.

Just my two cents' worth!

Cat said...

Oh, it would sure be nice to have a Gina around here! I guess I've got comments on both sides of the situation, meant nicely, of course.

It's definitely inexcusable for someone to let their child jump on your furniture, or to change a diaper without a pad or blanket or something beneath on your new sofa. At the same time, though I'm not against spanking whatsoever (and it's still legal in our state), I'm always hesitant to do so other than in my own home, due to the reactions of others. Still, the child should have disciplined in some way. On the other side of the situation, though, sometimes I am so exhausted by just getting somewhere with my crew (4 young children and some chronic health problems), that I tend to sometimes just tune out non-life-threatening behaviors if they don't appear to be bothering someone. (Now I would definitely NOT allow jumping on the sofa, etc..., I'm talking noisiness or whatever here.) I'm not saying I'm right to do so, just that sometimes I get in a little fog at times. Don't know if this might also be the case of some of these young moms. I'd speak up, but gently point it towards the child, such as "sweetie, don't jump on the sofa, you might fall and hurt yourself." Something along those lines allows a non-meaning-to-be-rude-just-sort-of-stressed-and-out-of-it mom like myself to "wake up" and pay attention without feeling the sudden need to be defensive. Does that make sense?

As for listening to advice, well, I like to think I would. However, I know there are times (like today) when my mom (on the phone, 1400 miles away) will tell me how GOOD my 4 YO challenging child was while visiting her for several weeks this summer, and how she (my mom) laid down the law and my daughter cooperated. Sometimes I get a bit defensive or frustrated at that because, in all fairness, my mom was dealing with ONE child and could give her plenty of one-on-one attention. My mom has only raised two children as well, and we were sent to school so the whole situation was a bit different. What I'm getting at is that maybe the best thing would be to mentor a younger woman in a similar situation as yours when you were a younger mom. If you are a homeschooling mom of 6 you probably faced different challenges than a mom to two or three whose children go to school/preschool. Or vice versa.

The other thing with accepting advice is, though I'm open to it in areas such as attitude or whatever, I'm personally not as open to it in the realm of food advice, etc... . There has just been so much research done that it's sometimes hard to take seriously someone who likes to tell how they added rice cereal to their baby's bottle at 3 weeks of age. There is a dear older lady at church who is certain my son's growth in certain areas of his anatomy will be stunted from the car seat buckle fastening over top. ;) So while I'd LOVE to have a mentor in my faith walk, and even in many areas of parenting, unless someone is into whole foods/healthy eating I'm not likely to take their advice in that realm.

Gina, God bless you for what you're doing. I think it is just wonderful that you are consciencously attempting to mentor younger moms. That pampering tea you held was such a lovely idea! I think you'll eventually find that particular person for you to mentor and things will click.

The Aday Family said...

I greatly appreciate what Gina is trying to do. She is seeking to obey the Lord by being a Titus 2 woman. Go Gina!

I am a 28 year old mother to a 16 month old son. I am the opposite of those younng mothers you are talking about. I am so thankful to have older women in my life! In fact, most of the women I "hang out" with all have grown or mostly grown children. I am forever grateful for their sharing of God's Word with me in the area of being a wife and a mother.

Gina and others like her need to continue to obey the Lord's word in Titus 2. It is so important.

As far as the unruly children, part of being a Titus 2 woman to lovingly share the scriptures with the younger women to help them better love their husbands and their children, to be self-controlled, kind, submissive... etc. The only textbook for those things is the sufficient Word of God. God's word speaks in multiple places about the place spanking in the discipline process (Prv. 22:15, Prv. 29:15, pv. 29:!7, Prv. 29:21). Bring God's word to bear in the situation, it never returns void (Is. 59:11) and cannot be argued against.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jess,

This is an interesting question, and a few thoughts come to mind.
I agree that there are some young parents around who are as are described in this email - unaware of their children's impact on others, and unable to see life from another person's eyes. This, sadly, is a mark of the upcoming generation!
Our family has been involved in parenting classes at our church, and we find that there are some parents who are willing to learn. And many of them just haven't considered teaching obedience and self control to their children. Or respect for the property and feelings of others. Some of those parents are just surprised to consider these things! Some of them are willing to learn. Some of them are offended.
As an older mother (or, mother of older children - I am not really THAT old!! I am 40, and my 6 children are aged 5-14), I am learning to meet people where they are , rather then where I would like them to be. So yes, I have had these mothers in my home (with the badly behaved, but 'cute' children). However, I am seeking to be a mentor for them where they need it, not where I want them to need it. I am seeking to show the love of Christ to them, and to demonstrate some of the parenting they lack (in interaction with my own children), without trying to force myself on them.
My mother was so very good at this. Many many years as a pastor's wife, running several bible studies a week to parents who had no idea how to manage their children. Over the years (yes, years! not weeks or months!), they came to respect her, and then seek her council on managing their children.
I do sympathise with this dear lady, who has put so much thought and effort into reaching out to these young mothers. Perhaps she might think through how to reach these mothers in themselves first, and gain their respect, rather than addressing their children's lack of parenting. Perhaps one on one morning teas to get to know them better? With such a passion for ministering to them, I pray that she doesn't give up, but looks instead to another creative way to minister to them :)

Anyway, just some thoughts...
Sim in Oz.

Anonymous said...

Well, people generally first want to be heard and accepted, imperfections and all. Once they feel accepted, and not judged, they usually begin to feel more comfortable with asking questions and accepting feedback.

But each generation is different. There are lots of tips online regarding how to approach generations X, Y and Millennials.

I share the same desire to be mentored. As a single woman who lost my mom when I was five, I never really had a woman in my life who could be there for me day to day. One of the greatest challenges I face is in dealing with women who seem to feel threatened by me, although I try so hard to be respectful. I make a point of speaking only to women - I avoid men in church so as not to appear as if I'm competing for a husband. I dress very conservatively a la Talbot's.

Back to the original writer, when people do not treat you with respect, then they do not deserve you. When you begin spending less time with them, you will begin to attract quality people who DO appreciate you. Of course, if the others suddenly realize that they've made a mistake for not respecting you, you can always forgive and begin again. :)

Laura said...

As a mother of a toddler, and a "younger" woman, I really appreciate Gina's obvious desire to reach out to the young women and Moms in her church/community. Here are a couple of things I would add/suggest in response to Gina's obvious frustration.

1) As a young Mom who does spank my son, I constantly feel under pressure worrying about what other women think when he acts up. (And "spanked" kids still do!)Sometimes it seems as if he picks the most embarrassing times to try me. Sometimes the thing I most need is not to feel as if my mothering skills are being assessed. Bringing up discipline at this point in the visit will alienate young Moms who are probably inwardly cringing at their kids to begin with. Of course, I realize not every Mom is disciplining enough, and cannot speak to each case! But what most Mom's of "learning" toddlers need is a little extra visible grace and understanding! It will go a LONG way to fostering the kind of mentoring relationship Gina is obviously looking for!

2) I would encourage Gina not to look for affirmation from the women she is ministering to. I know from being in ministry to women/children in the past - I often felt "let down" and underappreciated by the women I was "loving", when in reality, I just wanted them to love me! This is natural and human - not sinful. But it will get you into all sorts of heartache in ministry, especially to busy women. I am sure they appreciated the gesture of the brunch and the gifts more than they said. Look to Jesus as an example of someone who always gave and rarely recieved from his disciples and be encouraged! Jesus knows your heart, and your ultimate affirmation will come from Him.

3) If you want to minister to Moms with young children but don't want to mess up your couch, try entertaining them in another room. There is nothing more uncomfortable then having your toddler in a room where everything is super-nice or off limits. It will help the Moms you minister to if you kid-proof one of your rooms in your home for these sorts of visits. Also, it will put your mind at ease. Even if it's the back porch, at least the Mom can focus on visiting with you and not constantly feeling like you are on pins about the furniture.

Rachel said...

The most influential Titus 2 woman in my life didn't invite me into her pristine home full of stainless couches. Instead, she marched into my messy, zwieback-crumb-covered one and changed diapers along side me. I had three babies under three years old, and she earned my respect and my listening ear by A.) watching her interact with her teenage daughter and B.) being willing to help me in a practical way. Now, I can't wait to get a babysitter and sit at her feet to listen to what she has to say.

thecurryseven said...

I've been thinking about how to respond all day and still can't come up with anything terribly coherant, so I apologize for my ramblings in advance.

While I'm 42, close in age to Gina, I don't feel that I yet qualify as an older woman. (It could have something to do with the fact I have a 2yo running around the house.) I still try to go to events that are for mothers of young children and I have never been snubbed by the younger mothers. I go mainly because I remember when I was one of those young moms, that I so appreciated what the mothers whose children were a bit older had to say. I still keep in contact with two of those moms, and am still learning from them. They are the closest thing I have to a mentoring relationship. I have also been approached by a younger mother who has asked to come over every now and then to ask questions. (It's so flattering, isn't it, to be asked one's opinions, how could I say no?) All this to say things aren't all bad around here. These are definitely the bright spots.

But I also understand Gina's frustration. There have been plenty of times I've been asked point blank what we are doing with our children. The person then adds the line, because I want my child(ren) to turn out the same way. When I start listing what we may do differently from others (homeschool, first-time obedience, no TV, limited outside activities, family dinners every night), I can see them tune out and completely disregard what I'm saying. The look on their face says that what I'm suggesting is too hard and how can I possibly expect them to do that. I get to a point where I just don't want to answer anymore. It's as though somewhere along the line parents were told that having children was easy and many parents aren't willing to do the hard work parenting takes. They would rather have emotionally distant teenagers and undisciplined children than do the sacrificial parenting needed to have close relationships with their teens and obediant and happy children.

One final note as to children misbehaving in my house: I don't allow it. Period. I don't care if the parents are there or not, there are rules in our home and I expect others to follow them. I have no hesitation about asking a child not to stand on my furniture, put a wet glass on a wood table, or eat in my living room. I do so in the nicest possible way, but I state my rules and expect others to follow. When I had many piano students in and out, I discovered that parents didn't realize they could ask their children not to do something. By enforcing my own rules I was also showing the parents how to parent. (On rereading this, I should point out that I'm not talking about expecting children to be perfect. I have a pretty high tolerance for energy, mishaps, noise, and the like.)

Carletta said...

Gina, I think it's wonderful that you desire to help other moms.

I think many mothers today have a tendency to seek advice from books and parenting "experts" instead of the Bible or older, godly parents. We also have a tendency to seek advice from each other - it is often a case of the blind leading the blind.

My aunt has been a Titus 2 mentor to me over the years. She introduced me to homeschooling and helped me learn to become a better wife and mother. I have since found other Titus 2 mentors online. It took me some time to be willing to accept advice from these women because it went against so much of what I heard from others around me, but I am glad they were patient with me.

It sounds like you have much wisdom to share. Please be patient with these women and do not lose heart.

Chris said...

Oh, sweet Gina! I just love your heart. Thank you for taking the word of God seriously and for willingly taking these young moms into your home and life! Please do not grow weary in this well doing. WE NEED YOU and others like you.
I have some practical ideas that might help...
Set up some little "centers" in your home prior to the visit. It is such a blessing to go into a home that is prepared for young children. Include a "changing center" with a towel/something to lay the baby on, wipes(?), a toy to look at. And maybe a snack center- a fun cloth/ piece of plastic on the floor or kitchen table with special snacks. As for the quiet to visit...a book basket with interesting books, or (gasp) a very kid friendly video. This way the mom receives the gentle guidance and feels blessed. So much will be learned maybe not by what you get to say but in how you love her-the heart to heart talks will come.
Hope this is helpful-I would so love to come into your home. I appreciate your heart and will be gently encouraged to be mindful of the ladies who bless me as you do!
THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!
Love!
Jamie

michelle t said...

Gina,

One way you may be able to reach younger women is perhaps through an online group - a Titus 2 - yahoo group or an online group through your church perhaps. It certainly seems as if there are many younger mothers just on Jess's site who would have loved to have had a mentor. We tried a mentoring program at my church a few years ago and we couldn't get enough mentors to participate so it never happened. I can assure you many of this age group are earnestly seeking a mentor. Don't give up!

Lady M said...

Unfortunately, too many of the moms do think they know it all or have been trained by a book other than the Bible. The introduction and first chapters of "Parenting by The Book" did a good job of illustrating the psycho-babble that is prevalent in our society, but is accepted as "gospel" (I am reading this book right now).

I am an "older" mom (40). I have an almost 10 yr old, a 7 yr old, 3 little ones in heaven and 1 that is due in a couple of weeks. I read some of the psycho-babble books with interest, but, my mother had trained me long ago to read these books with a grain of salt and with the Bible in hand. I have found a great lack of Titus 2 type of women out there. I have had godly women in my life though, to encourage me along. My mother was one of them until she went to Heaven 4 years ago. I tend to find the best advice these days comes from much older women (like my grandma's age group - 80's). They have been there, done it and lived a full life. I now understand why my mom "adopted" an older maiden lady for a "grandma" for us when we lived hours away from family. While she did not have children, she was full of wonderful wisdom that only comes with age. I am not saying women of our age (40's) do not have anything to offer - not by any means, but we are fighting up against the "gospel" according to Oprah, etc. Too much parenting instructions on television, in the so called Parenting magazines, etc. - from the "experts" have made what we have to say rather irrelevant to most of the younger women out there - unless we have written a book, most young women tend to turn a deaf ear - unless they are truly looking for a mentor, etc.

As far as those who have commented about the badly behaved children and have said to not have children in your house are unaware that you do have children! It truly is a lack of respect or a great lack of common sense on these mothers part to let them the children eat yogurt or strawberries or change yucky diapers on the furniture!! I would never, ever dream of doing any of those things in someone else's house (I cannot afford to pay for a professional cleaning - and that is beyond the rude inconsiderate factor!!). I guess my mom raised me with better manners than that. I mean, Wow! I do not have a nice new couch (as much as I would LOVE one, lol), but I certainly would not want stains on my furniture. My own children know better than that. I would say in the future that when the mom's come, quietly let them know you have set up a changing station in one of the bedrooms or something like that (let's give that baby a little modesty, lol!). I still cannot get over the messy food on the couch though - makes my brain hurt (and I am soooo not a neatnik!).

The mother should know better than to let their child use one's furniture for a gymnasium. Personally, I have no qualms about putting a stop to it. Let's think on it from a different standpoint than just bad manners, though. If that child fell off the couch and injured themselves, the parent takes them to the doctor and tells them about the injury and how/where they were injured. A few days later, the parent gets a call from their insurance company. The insurance company, who does not spend anymore than they have to, wants more information about where the incident happened. Suddenly, the person hosting the event gets a call from the insurance company - they want to know if she has home owner's insurance.....Can you see where this is going? Sound unrealistic? Nope. It happens. So, from a financial standpoint, the badly behaved child puts one at risk. So, yes, feel free to gently guide the parent & child with a nice comment, "Sweetie, it really is not a good idea to jump there - you might fall and hurt yourself." Often, simply calling the parents attention to what they have been tuning out at home is enough to put the situation back in order. You can make it fun too, if the parent has stepped out of the room. Catching them mid-bounce and flying them to the floor with laughter and a similar comment keeps everyone on an even keel.

I will add in my one caveat - and not saying that Gina has done this - just something that I have experienced with a good "older" friend of mine that mentors me to some extent (she is in her later 40's - or early 50's - I have not specifically asked, lol!). She and her husband have had 6 children (1 hers, 3 his & 2 theirs). The 2 younger ones (11 & 13) are nice enough, but very, very outgoing, etc. The one comment my friend is Always making to me is that my daughter (almost 10) should be more outgoing, outspoken, etc. so she can be a better witness for Christ..... The comments are made because my dd is somewhat shy (until comfortable with a situation), usually will not order food at a restaurant, stuff like that. This kind of "advice" drives me nutty since God has given my dd the personality that she has. I was much like her as a child and now, I am a chatty person. But it took a long time to get this way (and I still hate making phone calls or being in strange situations!). I am pretty sure that this kind of thing is NOT what Gina was doing when these young women were in her home, nor a direction she would want to go, either (nothing worse than being told that the personality that your child was born with is "wrong", sigh). But, I am thinking that perhaps a book discussion on a biblically based parenting book could be a great idea (ie Dobson, Lehman or perhaps Rosemond's newest book).

Sadly, too, the majority of these young women were probably in daycare, then school, etc. and then out on their own - the odds are good that their parents did not entertain a lot, thus not seeing how one should behave in someone else's home. I think the age segregation issue is a prime issue as well (we homeschool moms are well aware of that happening, but those who do not homeschool might not be as aware of that). Even a good discussion over a homemaking book might be wonderful for many of them.

Okay, this is getting really long and I have overstayed my "up time" on the computer (I am on limited bedrest for mild preeclampsia), but I just had to share my thoughts as well.

Laura said...

Valerie,
I would love to know some titles for mothering books! Thanks so much :)

MiPa said...

After weeks of reading posts here and saying, "I'm going to come back and comment on that" today I am finally doing it! Mainly because mentoring is very much on my heart right now, and also because everyday when I read Gina's wisdom (on her blog) I wish she could mentor me in person and not just virtually!

I'm 40. Christian for 33 years, so definitely qualify as "older" woman. I also have a 6 year old and 3 year old--putting me in a "young mom" camp. I agree with a previous commenter that relationship makes a lot of difference in how to receive "advice." But I don't think that mentoring is necessarily advice. I think it is a relationship. And what I read in the question was how to get younger women to even choose to attempt a relationship. Providing opportunities to get together is great--unless the only ones we talk to are those we already know. Gatherings with some kind of "mixer" activity to get people to move around and interact with others might help. But ultimately, the desire has to come from the younger wanting to observe and learn.

I am constantly amazed at who God puts that desire into. The person who seeks me as a mentor is rarely the person I've identified as someone who I could mentor. Maybe that is why my recent attempts of connecting with someone older have been rebuffed--maybe they don't see themselves as a mentor. (Even if I'm learning much from watching their lives). I'll be praying, Gina, that someone seeks you out!

As far as the rude behavior... there is no excuse and just seems to be more and more common. I'm sorry.

Anonymous said...

Dear Gina,

You have received lots of answers, but I'd like to add my little bit. :-)

I would be on the receiving end of Titus 2 teaching, as the mother of a six-year old. Let me begin by assuring you that having expectations that Christian young women should be at least polite and control their children are quite in order! This is stating the obvious, but I know from my own experience that when everyone around you just keeps saying/doing the opposite of what you know to be true and biblical, you may even end up thinking, 'Am I crazy after all?! Maybe I'm the one who's wrong?!' Nothing wrong with your standards, as I understand them from your letter. So do not beat yourself thinking you are the square peg in this.

It doesn't take being an older woman nowadays to see that many parents do not seem to have a clue about raising children - and when that happens in the church, it's quite tragic and a shame! Years ago, my husband and I had an experience that we still cannot get over... talk about being shocked by how others behave in your home.. I was pregnant at the time, so I had no first-hand experience of raising children myself yet, but we had read extensively on the subject, talked with others, and settled for a standard of obedience defined as doing things "right away, all the way and with a happy heart". (Years later, I still believe it's biblical, and it pays off.) A Christian couple visited us, with their two young girls (kindergarten age). Jumping and screaming literally at the top of their lungs in front of my poor hamsters' cage, acting wild... we were horrified (especially as we had neighbors living in an apartment below)... the parents did nothing to restrain them and we didn't know what to do so we wouldn't offend the parents. The real shocker was to find the father go all by himself into another room, where he was not invited, and go through my cabinets to see what was inside, to have him ask me who was inside the one room whose door was closed and insist to know who was there, to hear him tell his wife in a very relaxed tone of voice as he was looking through my cabinets and his girls were screaming, 'S., do something about that..' ... for days afterward I felt like my mind was curled up around this, it was beyond anything imaginable. If this were to happen today, I know we would definitely, calmly but FIRMLY intervene whether the parents did or not. All of this was to say that some of us young parents are horrified too about the lack of control some parents have over their children. So it's not just a matter of seeing things differently because of being older, and no young parents should dismiss it as such. It's a matter of respecting what the Bible teaches and showing some BASIC consideration to others.

Your initiative is to be admired. Many of us wish you could be where we live (and I am not even in the States, but I would so welcome a Titus 2 mentor!). Here are some thoughts about how I would act if I were in your situation.

First of all, I would not entirely give up on inviting people into my home. I think having them in your home would be much better than going to some other location. It is totally different when they can share in the atmosphere of your home, the place you love and where you are queen, where they can see the interaction with your grown children, and see you as you live your role there. There is nothing like the atmosphere of warmth and coziness of a real home. I would be more upfront with the purpose for which you invite them, and if there is any danger that to some young women you don't know very closely yet you might come across as wanting to just give advice and correct, I would state it like this: "I am inviting a number of younger women in my home, to get to know them and see how I might best serve them in this season of their lives. They have a challenging responsability of being wives and mothers, and I know how hard that is, and would like to find out how I may help them. Would you be interested in coming?" Or something like that. The key words in my mind are "serve them". That would rule out the possibility of being misunderstood and taken for one trying to poke into other people's lives or criticize them. It's not a matter of semantics, but of the attitude beyond it, and it looks like that is your attitude from your letter. I can't tell you how humbling and touching it is to hear, as our family did from a pastor once, 'How may we best serve you?' That would help them see you as one who offers to be there, available for them, to bless them, share from your experience and so on. At least, that's how I'd see it.

Secondly, when you do have any group come to your home, please do not hesitate to make a few things clear upfront. You can do it with a smile and in a relaxed natural voice, as opposed to when the nasty incident has already taken place and your intervening would be seen as confrontational. So I would say in a relaxed way, 'Ladies, you are very welcome. If anyone ever needs to use a restroom, it is over there... If you need to change diapers, please use .... [indicate appropriate area]. If you need a few private moments with your child for any discipline issues - don't forget I've raised children myself :-) - you may use that room. If you need to give them a snack, please use..... We don't eat in this area." Or something similar. Or state any other rules: "We do not jump/or......./... in here. But you are welcome to play with....If you see something you would like to play with, please ask first." You could have a small table set up with coloring sheets prepared and a bunch of crayons. There are loads of coloring sheets that can be printed off the net. The idea is if you clearly share the rules upfront, in a nice way, everyone knows clearly what they are expected to behave like. At least the parents would get it.

Another thing I would do would be to approach your pastor and his wife and share with them your desire to be available, in line with Titus 2, for any young women that would like to approach you. Surely they know of personal and family issues that you do not know of, and would know of some young women that would be very grateful for whatever you could offer them. They could send them to you or let you know that such and such a young woman does need and would welcome a more seasoned friend. So I would definitely let them know.

No woman in my life has approached me directly with an offer to be my Titus 2 mentor. And I've longed for such a mentor for years. But sometimes it's like gleaning a bit from one person, about cooking and homeschooling, a bit from someone else about artistically decorating my home with crafts to create a beautiful and warm atmosphere, a good bit from women I've never met personally, only on the net... and from books, like Elizabeth George's books, which I so love. So women may learn from a variety of Titus 2 women, not necessarily having one 'officially" set aside as their mentor, but learning bits from here and there, from different ladies they admire for different things. You might be an inspiration, at least to someone, in at least one of the areas. Think not only in terms of groups of ladies, but of individual persons. And think not only of young women asking for your company/input but of young women you could choose to just minister to, even in small ways. You could perhaps write letters. Do you know of Laine's letters on the net? She has a tremendous ministry that has blessed me much, and that's how it started. You can read her letters on her site http://www.lainesletters.com/ . For instance, you see a young mother that has some difficulties. You can write a note of encouragement, 'Dear, I know you are having a hard time with... and I wanted to let you know I am praying for you. Is there anything I can do for you? You are welcome to come over if you would like a friend to talk with, or just to share a cup of tea and some cookies.' I am sure some young women do need you, and something like this would bless them and open up doors of communication.

Well, these were some of my thoughts after reading your letter. Hope this helps even a tiny bit. I do believe you hit the nail on the head with your comment about age-segregation in the church. This has done a lot of harm in my opinion. Church should unite families, not help to fragment them even more. Vauddie Baucham's multi-generational approach is more more biblical, I believe. Older people need some of the energy and zest of younger people and have much wisdom to offer in their turn. It seems like in New Testament times, at least the children were present with the congregation so that Paul could address them directly when he wrote the congregation - "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right" (Ephesians 6: 1). The children were there when the letters were read, not separated in children's Sunday school class. :-)

I won't comment on the idea of biblical spanking being harmful to children, because it's been addressed enough.

Mrs. P

Gina@Chats With An "Old Lady" said...

I am loving reading all of these suggestions and they are so helpful to me as I learn how to better answer the call of Titus 2. I'm sure I have "bumbled my way through" my share of attempts at reaching out. I have a tendancy to be passionate and purposeful, I can see how that might come across like it is a project...but that is soooooooo not my hearts intent. There are so many times that I am with a younger woman and I FORGET that she is not a peer because I am just enjoying her friendship. Then she'll say something like "Oh, my mom used to do that..or you remind me of my mom!" And then I will be reminded of how they see me...as so much older! It puts me in my place, in a good way!! I am finding my way in all of this.

I did have to laugh when someone mentioned a "pristine couch", because if you could only see my house! My husband is in ministry and does not get paid much. We live quite simply, in a small place, and our couch is far from pristine! My issue is not with my "precious" couch...although I would like it to last as long as possible! My issue was more wondering how and when to address the behaviour! Wanting to show grace,but wondering when/how to say something.

It's hard and requires so much prayer!

Thank you for all your suggestions. I take them all to heart and consider being older (than some!) a huge privilege and calling!

hopeful said...

I haven't read the other comments because I want to respond just to Gina. By the way, I'm a 29-year-old never-married woman.

My observations:
From the things you have described, I would say that these women definitely need to be taught. Instruction in manners should probablly come first. ;-)

Be available to teach, but don't teach constantly. I know that if I was a young mom I wouldn't want older women to constantly correct me or advise me about my parenting. I would have spent a lot of time deciding how I was going to do things and wouldn't necessarily want my positions, convictions, and principles challenged. I would, however, be open to learning what you did and why you did it that way, as long as you weren't putting me down for my choices. Book suggestions are also a much nicer way to advise people, I think (on any subject, not just motherhood). The concepts are just easier to accept without being offended or reject without being offensive when they are contained in a book rather than being given by a live person!

As for dealing with some of the other situations, these phrases might come in handy (said very nicely, of course).

"We don't allow jumping on furniture in this house."

"Excuse me, do you happen to have a changing pad?"

"No"

"Don't touch"

I'm not sure it's possible to mentor women who dont' want to be mentored, but there ARE women (and girls) who DO want that.

"It seems like they are so used to being "age segregated" that concept of spending time with those who are older than you is somewhat foreign."

This is sad, but that is probably the way it has been for their entire lives--starting with day care. I think that if children are going to attend school (rather than be homeschooled) then parents need to be intentional about counteracting the age segregation encouraged by schools. But what you can do now, I honestly don't know.

Bekah Miller said...

I didn't read through all the comments (what a book!) so excuse me if I repeat what others have said.
Gina, I would keep inviting SMALL groups of women over. If the behavior of the children are making it difficult, meet at a park, or go to the zoo. Designate a certain part of your house for snacks and announce it ahead of time. We don't do food out of the diningroom/kitchen area, so when I have friends with kids over I might put a blanket on the lawn and say, "I thought the kids could snack out here today." If I find someone with food in the livingroom, I just say (super sweetly), "We don't take food out of the kitchen here. Go on outside with that." Get a highchair or booster seat and make it available when ladies come over. Be proactive when you can. I think it is hard to keep that balance of warm and loving hostess AND keeper of your home, but it can be done! I don't think there is anything wrong with telling a child or parent what the rules of your house are when the need arises. Most moms have absolutely no problem with that and will be thrilled that you keep loving on them.

alaskamommy said...

Ah, the whole spank vs no spank. It really is discipline vs no discipline, expectations of behavior, etc. For those who say they're just following the Proverbs, by all means. Just be sure to use a thick rod on the back of a rebellious male teenager, for that's what it is talking about. Is spanking Biblically allowed? Sure. Is it commanded? No. For some children and families, it is not an option. That said, I help organize the mom's group at our church, and we have made the effort to invite some of the older, more experienced ladies to come talk with us, and it has been wonderful. Some have also helped with childcare so we could study and pray together. It is very true that many younger women like myself become age segregated. There was even one younger mom who thought my age was "too old" to be with! I'm just barely 30! Maybe Gina could offer to attend their monthly meetings to help with the children, and use that as a springboard to building relationships. That's how I feel I've been able to connect more with some of the more experienced ladies. I see that they care about us, they care about helping our children, they make an effort to be there 2x a month. It's also perfectly acceptable, like others have said, to state some clear behavioral expectations when you have people with little ones in your home, though it's easier to set them at the very beginning than to interrupt with "oh no, no food on the sofa, no don't change a diaper there! Here's the quiet area, here's the active area" etc. I usually change my little ones diapers in the bathroom when visiting someone else's home, and can't imagine doing that on someones nice sofa! Sorry you had such a bad experience with that.

darci said...

You could move HERE! :) darci

grateful mom said...

Gina,
I'm so thankful for the effort you are making to follow God's command and teach and bless young moms like myself. I'm sorry for the disheartening experience you had with the group in your home. I must say, I was stunned by what you described and know that my girlfriends and I would absolutly delight in engaging with a wise woman desiring to pour into our lives. I encourage you to keep plugging away and pray that you will find more receptive and respectful mothers. I will also remeber your treatment as I engage with older women--all of whom can teach me something. Our generation is perhaps the most self-suffcient and prideful yet--its a sad reality of our culture and I commend you for rising up against this!

Joelle said...

OK, I'm de-lurking. :) I'm not a mom, but I'm married and might become a mom at some point. I don't know how young the moms you invited over were, but if they were in the 18 to late 20's bracket (known as Generation Y), there may be a reason why. I do marketing research and I recently came across a fascinating article about young mothers at http://tiny.cc/oLVVJ (I don't condone what this site might link to as it is a secular site for marketers, but you might find part of the article interesting). These women tend to look to each other for advice and tips.
I'm part of this young generation, and I am ashamed of us. We as younger women who tend to look to peers for advice need to take the bibilical advice to listen to older women who have experience. (I'm reminded of King Solomon's son in the Bible, who took the advice of his peers, rather than the older advisers. May we all learn a lesson from that!)
That said, we should always screen any advice we get - from young or old - by the Bible, not our own preconceived ideas. And I'm not bashing young women learning from other young women, either - I'm just saying that our generation particularly is susceptible, according to what research is telling us, of just congregating among our own age group rather than mingling as a community of believers with all ages.

Melissa said...

Gina,
Your heart is in the right place and God knows your heart. I don't want to excuse or defend the young mothers who treated you rudely. But I hope to encourage you and just point out a couple things.

First, try to always remember what it was like being the mom of young kids. Those moms who have come out to your house have had to pack a diaper bag (and there is a difference in going to somebody's house who has small children and somebody's house who doesn't... you have to be more careful to remember everything since there won't be any to borrow), gotten kids dressed, tied shoes, brushed hair, strapped them in carseats, and messed up kids' nap schedules (depending on age of kids and time of day). So, just try to remember what it's like to have little kids. Hint: it's hard work.

And this is my second point: As you try to remember the challenges of small kids, try to think what might be helpful and just ask the young ladies if you are being helpful. I have a dear friend who will ask something like, "My older daughter is free today and would like to come over and help you clean. Would that be helpful?" Usually I try not to turn down something like that, but sometimes it is truly not helpful! Perhaps I was planning to take a nap or I've promised my kids a trip to the park. I love it that my friend asks me first. So, my thought is to ask these young moms. "I thought maybe we could get together for lunch. Would you like to come to my house or would it be better to meet at yours? I'll bring the salads for us and you can fix the lunch your toddler prefers." "I would love to serve you. Could I help you with babysitting or cleaning your house or would you just like to relax at my place together. My daughter could play with the kids while we visit?" It may feel rude to you to sort of invite yourself over to someone else's home, but I truly would rather have someone invite themselves over and then be able to put my sleepy toddler down for her nap in her own crib.

Finally, I just wanted to point out that you said you invited the group of moms over for their normal monthly meeting. If it was their normal meeting, they probably just had the expectation that they would do what they normally do at their monthly meeting, which is talk to other young moms. I think maybe your expectations and theirs were very different. I hope that you will not be discouraged, but will keep trying out different things.

Also, if you do happen to give somebody a piece of advice, and it is not accepted gratefully and with much thanksgiving, don't assume it isn't wanted. I know you know how hard it is to be "criticized". It will probably take a little bit of time for a young mom to come to a place where she can see the advice as useful. Speaking from experience here as an advice-receiver :-) As, to your question of how to give advice, another dear friend of mine would say things like, "in our family..." or "we've found that..." That does soften it a little bit. And I happen to disagree often with this dear friend as she is a bit more legalistic in her Christian walk than I want to be, but I never disregard her advice. I mull it over and hers is a family I admire, so if it worked for her, it is certainly worth my consideration. But generally this advice is given in conversation as I complain about a child's behavior of in answer to a question. Advice on how to discipline while a toddler misbehaves would be seen as more critical.

May God bless your efforts. They are worthwhile!

Susanna said...

I have not read all the comments but re-reading mine I feel it sounds harsh and I do not want it to be taken the wrong way. I know what it is like to have an older woman build a relationship of freindship- in fact the nearest person to my age when I moved here was 20 years my senior. I guess what I meant to say was that I would have suffered if the Lord had not enabled me to see it was HIs will for me to be there with these older women and that, although I was desperately missing my friends I needed to submit to His perfect plans. So I just hope that young ladies out there do not miss out on great blessing because they do not see the biblical relevance of good sound friendship with older ladies in the faith. I do apologise if my words offended anyone.

Jen said...

Already good advice given, but just an observation I've had of women of my generation (I'm 33). Keep in mind that our generation was raised mostly by moms who worked out of the home. So we weren't taught some of what others consider basic manners. I would give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they are not just sloppy unconsiderate women. I don't think you are by the way, just wanted to put that out there! I was guilty of changing my first baby wherever and not always using a changing pad. I honestly wasn't being lazy or selfish, I just had no idea and was one of the first ones of my family and friends to have a baby, so I had no example to follow.

What if you invite small groups like another suggested, and is there a good model of a younger mother that you could invite over, to kind of help be an example?

Also, a few years ago, in our MOPS group, they studied Created to be His Helpmeet. That was a great way to share some biblical truths to women who were raised in a very different way. Perhaps you could do a study (I"m not necessarily suggesting this book, but maybe one that could help teach some of the things you are aiming for). I don't know too much about this book, but what about looking into "Open Heart, Open Home" (maybe someone who has read this could chime in).

Anyway, although I am 33, have a 6, 3, 2 year old and one on the way, I actually consider myself an "older" women in many ways. I've been married almost 9 years, and I've lived through the newborn stage for 3 children and toddler years for at least one of my children! I've been pregnant 4 times, and I was single for a number of years outside of highschool. So I think there is a wealth of information that the Lord has given me that I can share with other women "younger" than I. Even if it is not younger in years necessarily, it just may be younger in experience.

And lastly, I'm having trouble making this sound coherent - I'm tired, and should be off to bed. So please excuse the scatterbrained-ness of this comment! LOL!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I am 33 and a mother of five (13, 11, 6, 3, 2) But I was once a 22 year old single mother of two very small boys.

I just want to say PRAY for each of these mothers, pray for opening specifically into their lives, pray for ways to connect with them intimately, pray for opportunities to meet them at the park and connect with them, pray for ways to be a blessing to and LOVE them and they will see and follow the loving example they see before them, they will notice what you have... if their heart is open and they want TRUTH in their inmost places --- and I wonder if you could more purposefully TEACH a CLASS on being a young Christian mother? Or make it more "formal" - have it at your church once or twice a month & get the teens in on volunteering and watching all the grubb-bubs in the nursary for a few dollars or just for the ministry of it for them?

But one on one relationships, maybe you could find a more meaningful way to connect with these mothers in their place of need. (Can I help you get your house cleaned up?) (Can I help you sort out the fall clothes or package up summer stuff?)

If it's a matter of spanking or staying-at-home --- those are issues GOD will reveal to their HEARTS and you will simply CONFIRM - if they are reading their bibles the Holy Spirit will be speaking to them individually.
Know what I mean?

Okay, I'm tired and I'm sure I've said enough. God bless you as you follow hard after him.

Just remember: PEOPLE are important but like some have offered here, young people especially need to know you are for real and you REALLY care about them...all the other stuff will come birth out of that intimate relationship. All fruitfulness comes from intimacy! -quoted from Heidi Baker.

Blessings!

Laura Bean

Jill said...

Gina,

Wow! You really got some responses to your questions! I, too, have felt strongly called to mentor and encourage younger women for many years. I am 48 and have 8 children-some grown. I have run into the exact same challenges you describe. I would often have young women come over, plunk down on the couch with a huge sigh and cheerfully watch their children run wild in my home. I don't have a fancy home nor am I very picky about keeping it perfect but their attitude was disheartening.

I finally realized that the Lord would have to lead me to young women who were open to teaching. On a day to day basis this usually means a short phone call from a woman in crisis or a quick encouragement to a woman at church. If they are ready to "listen" to any wisdom I may have it is usually because they are struggling with something. Women of all ages like to talk a lot and (often) complain a lot. I try not to get sucked into listening to the usual struggles because it doesn't do either of us any good. I have become much more blunt and to the point asking questions such as, "Do you want some advice from me today? I would love to listen but my time is short". Yes, that may sound rude but my time IS short! If younger women want the blessings they see in my marriage and children they need to know that a blessed family life is WORK and we come by these blessings by seeking God during times of great loneliness and by sacrificing all that we are.

My generation of the baby boomers also thought we had all the answers...there is nothing new under the son! May God give us teachable hearts and may He lead us to those struggling women who are truly ready to receive!

Anonymous said...

(In response to all the comments giving suggestions about how to direct guests away from damaging the couch.) I'm sorry ladies: I cannot imagine a place or a time when asking a young Mom if she happens to have a changing pad would not be extremely embarrassing or even slightly offensive. (Especially when you've invited into your home to serve her). All this says to the Mom is, "I care more about my furniture than about you being comfortable." Most young Moms who change diapers in "inappropriate" or "rude" places aren't trying to make light of your hospitality or be uncaring towards your possessions. They are just trying to change a diaper. Sure - maybe their Mother should have taught them a little more consideration. But are we really ready to risk losing the opportunity to get to know them and love them for that? Think about what we're discussing: maintaining our furniture and our house while fulfilling Titus 2. Yikes! I'll admit to worrying far too much about my "Stuff" when I've had people over. So I'm not casting stones. But we've talked about the furniture enough!

Susanna said...

You know, I had never really realised the impact of mums working on their children knowing how to raise children until I read these comments. It is an eye opener.I think I find some of these things very hard to grasp because of my background. But just reading I am being convicted that maybe I sometimes fall short of how I should be when recieving titus 2 help from others. These things always have 2 sides don't they? I do still find it very sad though. In my old church the pastor was very against young peoples fellowships, believeing rather that we should fellowship and serve altogetehr. Comments here have added another string to his bow. Thank you all for your honest responses.
On another matter, although I do smack my children, I have been quite frustrated by people who tell me I will sort out their bad behaviour by giving them a good whack! I think that type of disicipline should only be carried out by a parent in a loving manner and never in public. Thsnk you for making me think. I hope I will be a better learner and also a better helper becuase of it.

Jasonswife said...

Thank you Gina for articulating so well what has been on my heart for so long. I have tried and tried to reach out to younger moms but even though the fruit of our parenting, marriage and lives is evident in the lives of our children, our marriage relationship and our relationship with Christ they immediately call us to authoritarian and harsh. I am labeled a door mat for being "to submissive". We try to have people over for fellowship and encouragement but the last four times we have experienced damage to our home or yard that was actually costly to repair. To top it off there were not even any apologies made. It has been very fustrating and I have at this time given up. I am praying for God to intervene and to bring someone who is willing to learn and grow.

Grafted Branch@Restoring the Years said...

I have feelings for both sides of this equation. I'm 40 now, and still look for that older woman to mentor me!

But at the same time, I've often, in the past, been repelled by most "older" women who wanted to teach me. Often they were really not called to teach yet--so many were still in the midst of it themselves--but they're anxious to feel their worth. Too often, we look for our worth in the reflection of our influence on others.

It is good to pray and wait for the work that the LORD ordains for us. Now I only ever pray that He would make me sensitive, available and prepared to walk in the works He will bring across my path. And I quietly trust Him to bring--or not bring--what He will. He knows my heart.

Any effort I've ever made to go out and find the works has always ended counter-productively. I'm sorry that Gina had this experience. My advice would be to rest.

Linds said...

Just an idea here - when a young couple in our church had their first baby, I (I am in my 50s) offered to help out with things like food, then to babysit to give the Mum a break, then it grew from there. A relationship. I always say I am a Granny in training, and we have a wonderful relationship. And because I was around a lot, I got to meet their friends too. Now their friends come to see me too. And so it grows. I listen and laugh with them, but I know their children so well, and they know me, so if they get a little out of hand, I say - "Excuse me, Miss B, what are we doing??? I don't think so!" And have a little chat about what is acceptable.
All the little ones who visit my home have been coming since they were babes and were rocked in my arms. They know what to do here. They are a delight, and their parents relax.
You know what? I didn't realise I was "mentoring" them. They are my young friends. And I love them all.
My advice? Be a friend. Fill a need. It grows from there.

Anonymous said...

Gina,
Years ago I started spending time with a woman who has kids around the age of mine. She is older than me and wiser, so she became a mentor to me over time. I remember being over at her house and seeing how she did not waiver in the rules of her home. If one of my children was not following the rules, she would get down at their level, look them in the eyes, and tell them that they can't do what they were doing. She was firm, but kind. I respected this. I'm not sure if it's been said here, but I think it is more than appropriate for you to do this sort of thing in your home. My friend was an example to me even when she did not know it. I was watching. Even simple things like running errands with her family made an impact on me. I saw how she interacted with her kids and how she didn't have a separate life apart from her kids. We just didn't sit around and chit chat while our kids ran wild. The kids weren't unwelcomed interruptions either. I was tempted to keep chit chatting, while my friend ALWAYS made time to stop and deal with any of the children's needs or conflicts. We also did a lot of activities WITH the kids. Sure, we weren't able to talk as much one on one, but that was okay. It was her example OVER TIME that had such a huge impact on me, and my unbiblical beliefs about childraising ended up changing as well, over time. I wouldn't even have called her a mentor at first. It just evolved into that kind of relationship. In my opinion, there are very few people who actually think they have a need. But there are those out there who do see their need and who are hungry. Just be who you are and someday someone will come knocking at your door. It might not look like what you think it will look like. I now know other women who I think could benefit from the wisdom I have gained, but I sense they're not ready to hear, so I just relax and enjoy their friendships. Afterall, it's not my job to change them or even to figure out if they want/need my help. This is freeing for me. I depend on the Holy Spirit to lead our discussions and our time together. Hope this helps. Bless you in your journey.

Rhonda in Chile said...

I know that it is frustrating to see how children are being raised so permissively. They are raising a generation of children that they won't even like.
Even so, as I have been reading the Pearl's writings, (you don't have to like all of it, just take what you need) and they stress the need to earn the right to advise, even parents of their grown children. We have to prove in some way that what we have to say is worthwhile. Not just because we are older gives us the advantage.

I would also like to add to the one who talked about actually helping the young mother. Saying things like, "Here, Honey, let me get you a towel to change your baby on"
If you have young guests, then you need an alternative activity, like a video game or some toys. Believe me, a little Play doh at the kitchen tables is always fun! If you make your home welcome to small visitors, then the mamas will come, stay and learn by your example. Earn their love! They will listen to anyone who they feel loves them. Both the kids and the mamas. When the mamas see how you handle their little ones at your house, then, they might be open to advice.

Jo Lynn said...

I have always wanted to be taught and teach the younger mothers. I tried one and she acted offended. But her friend thought it was cool and paid close attention to me. And she does not have any children....

I love Titus 2 and am doing research on starting a mommy group with this emphasis.

I guess I am between the age of old and young. But I did have my first at 16 so I am an older mother but am only 34. I love being taught and love teaching new mother's my experiences.

Jo Lynn

Mary said...

Gina, bless your heart for wanting to reach out in this way to the younger moms around you! I'm only 33, but recently did the same thing in my home...I invited four young moms and their respective children--7 toddlers and infants, and had my 8 and 10 year old daughters and also my 12 year old niece babysit so we moms could visit. Thankfully, the children were amazingly well behaved, and the moms were too! Wink! But my heart so sympathizes with you b/c I would have been bothered by such a lack of consideration as well.

I've recently been doing a study on hospitality at my blog, based on 1 Peter 4:9, "Practice hospitality without complaint"...it's very convicting, b/c even when things go very well, as in my case, I still can find something that I would have liked to have gone better. I agree that maybe you need to just pray for God to single out one or two of these moms for you to mentor...surely this desire of your heart is there for a reason. Maybe you just haven't found the right mom yet. Maybe she's not an obvious choice? God might even bring her to you as a stranger, not particularly a "churched" person.

I hope you keep reaching out, we need more wonderful older moms like you out there!

Fun Q&A Jess!

Ticia said...

You probably need another comment like a hole in the head but I just wanted to say I applaud your efforts and understand the pit falls.
I will give only one piece of advice to you. Become their friend and the mentoring comes naturally.
My friend and mentor Dianne is the best thing that ever happened to me.
Leticia

Ellen said...

I am reading these, and they're very interesting comments. My mom did the "Apples of Gold" program with some young moms, and I was jealous that I couldn't be there. I think what Gina is trying to do is wonderful... But I also think that she needs to be more understanding of the unique needs of moms with small children.

I joined a women's Bible study last year that had many women of various ages in it. They had monthly luncheons at different people's houses on weekdays... but those of us with young children could not come unless we got child care. I remember how embarrassed and hurt I was when I realized that I was effectively being excluded. The stated reason was that many of the older women were not comfortable having young children in their houses.

It is really tough to be the mother of a young baby. There are many places in our culture where children are not wanted or appreciated. It is hard to be worried the entire time you're in someone's home that your child will throw up, leak through a diaper, throw a temper tantrum because its past nap time, etc. Sometimes you think it would just be easier to stay home.

I have changed a diaper on someone's couch. That someone was another young mother who changed her own children on the couch when she needed to. My toddler eats crackers on other people's carpets. The reason I let him do these things is because my time with other adult humans is very limited, and I drink it in. I don't want to take even 5 of those precious minutes away to leave everyone to feed my child or change a diaper. Since I spend most of my time with other moms who do the same things, they understand, and I can relax. This may be why we hang together instead of reaching out toward older women.

Things are just things. Worrying about them can get in the way of building relationships. This stage of my life will be over before I know it, and I will probably have nicer things that I care about more. But I don't want to forget that they are just stuff when a young mom comes over. She won't be comfortable at my house if she can tell that I'm nervously waiting for her toddler to spill something.

But I do think the yogurt on the couch was over the top...

Anonymous said...

I am 35 and my husband and I have spent the last year in a ministry of our peers. I'm learning some things that as I read Gina's post might apply to her situation.

In the beginning I had ideas that the people I served would be so grateful and inspired by the things the Lord was calling me to do for them. I was so excited and just knew we'd be well received. Not so. What I am learning is that I am serving and accountable to the Lord. I need to be faithful to Him- even if I don't see the "fruit" in the people. My encouragement to contine on must be from Him and not necessarily from them.

Gina, keep your eyes on the Lord and His purpose for you and not on the girls and their lack. Continue on and ask Him to guide you step by step.

The girls will offend you and do things that will make you uncomfortable. That's why you are in their lives. If they had it down - God would not have called to serve them. Continue to be the role model for them. Ask God to help you love them when you are offended by their actions. Gently guide them without expecting results. They "see" you and the woman you are but they may not give you the response you are looking for. It's a slow process. Continue to open your home and serve them, communicating your boundaries gently. Trust the Lord to take care of your needs (cleaning bill, new sofa if needed). Serving is a sacrifice. People are offensive. But God values people and relationships. He will take care of us as we are faithful to His call.

I know it's hard not to be respected the way you want. You may feel like they don't value your experience enough to grow from you. Trust God knows what He is doing even if you don't. Next time you have the girls over, maybe you could tell them ahead of time you will be speaking on a certain subject after a 1/2 hour of socializing. You set the agenda.

Anonymous said...

Gina, I did not read all of the comments, and this may have been said already. You asked what you could do to reach out to young women. As a youngish mother of one 6 month old, I can tell you the thing I cherish the most from the titus two women in my life is help! Real physical help. A day spent helping with laundry, cooking, or holding my son so that I can get done what I need to. It always opens up conversation, advice, and a generous showing of God's love! I hope that was helpful, and I appreciate any woman wanting to reach out to the next generation!

MaryBeth

MacCárthaigh Family said...

I got saved 7 years ago when I was 36 yo. I married my lovely, loving husband a year later. He was 14 years saved. I had been in several relationships before we wed, but he had never lived with a woman until we married.

We love each other very much but because we married when we were older, and because we had such different backgrounds, we found some parts of our lives tough. Although there is a couple of older women in my Church, none were much help...

The MAIN reason I blog is to meet up with Christian women who are married and have children. I read and learn and glean.

I also home school and am not supported at all by any of the women in the Church, not encouraged, none of them ever ask about how I am getting on. (It's a pretty rare thing to home school where I am)

But this is life. godly women or no godly women, all we really need is the Holy Spirit!

Beth M. said...

I have a few suggestions for dealing with moms of unruly children who are visiting your home.

First, understand that in many cases they simply don't know any better. I'm refering to the children AND the mothers. So give them some guidelines.

When they first arrive, welcome them to your home. Point out where the restroom is. Designate a spot for changing diapers - if you don't want this done on your couch or rug, offer a table or floor space. Many moms change diapers on their couches at home, so it doesn't occur to them that this would be a problem.

Put the snacks in the dining room or kitchen, and request that the moms have their children stay in there while eating. Make this request before a problem starts.

If you have a new couch (or other furniture) that you are concerned about keeping clean, point that out early on in the visit, and also point out an area where it is okay for the kids to make a mess.

If you wait until there is a problem (the kid is sitting on the new couch eating a strawberry) to say something, it is very likely that the mother will take anything you say as criticism of her parenting and be offended. If you lay out the rules in advance (in a gentle and friendly manner) you will probably find the mothers more likely to respect your wishes.

deb said...

I've read through all the comments and I am surprised that no one has asked you any further questions.

Did you have toys and activities available for the children also?

How forceful were you in telling the young mothers your rules for their children's behavior? Is it possible that you are being too nice and need to speak up more? I have this problem myself, so I sympathize.

What are the normal meetings for these moms' groups like?

At one point in my life, I did not know to lay a changing pad under my babies. A very sweet woman-my age- gently asked me to do so and I did not get offended, but I am thick skinned.LOL

Angela said...

Hi Gina,
I'm an older mom with young children; so I spend time with all ages of young moms and would myself LOVE to have a Titus 2 mentor where I live now! Approaching late 30's, I have a little insight into both sides, but I do not feel qualified to be a Titus 2 mom yet since my oldest is not school aged.

In the past, I have had this blessing, and it was always a natural relationship. We had meals, spoke on the phone, I went over to help with errands and yardwork, and we shared meals and laughter and long walks. It was sort of like having extended family. I miss that where I am now. I would really like to have that relationship with a whole family so that my whole family can benefit and we can also bring joy to their lives. If a woman wanted to be my mentor but made me feel I had nothing to offer her or that she had nothing to learn, I would be on guard and wonder what her intentions were. I would appreciate being a friend and learning by watching her in action and then being able to ask her to teach me beyond that.

We also have rules where we don't eat or jump on the sofa, and I have cringed seeing company do just that. We go so far as to not wear shoes in the house, and it has all caused guests to feel unwelcome. I've had to lighten up and also speak up. If you want to invite moms and their children into your home, you will have to make your rules clear or better yet offer to meet in their homes-you can bring the food and goody bags over, and that would be so lovely. I know I'd like that. You probably won't notice as much of the strawberry fingers on the sofa if it isn't yours. I find that true for myself. The young mom won't have to worry about her child is destroying your home, and time can be spent chatting as you clean up together.

Think of how you would want a 50 year old mom of grown children to approach you to teach you her wisdom, blend that with what you know about young moms today, and ask God to show you what's next. Thank you for offerning yourself as a blessing to others!

loavesandfishes said...

I have no mother and the mother I did have was not a Christian and was cruel. I have been praying for and seeking a Titus woman. I have much to learn and I only get one chance at this.

I really appreciate the thread about how churches segregate themselves based on age. I feel like this is a light bulb moment for me. No wonder I can't find a Titus woman! They are segregated from me!

Thank you sooo much for this post and discussion. I am going to ask my husband if he will consider us joining a different class and straddling this age barrier.

Katherine

Anonymous said...

Hi Jess and Gina,
I realize you have two different blogs but I will address you both here on this one. I am a 55 yr old woman with 4 grown children...3 sons and one daughter. Two of my sons are married and between them I have 5 grandchildren w/one on the way. Most of what I have learned about parenting has been through experience...mentors were few and far between in my life. God is faithful and even in all my failings as a parent he has blessed me with children that have continued to love me and desire to hear what I have to say when it comes to raising children. I believe that this generation of young people have not had the blessings of growing up in a home where Mom is there to nurture and care for them as I had. (I was a stay at home Mom but didn't know many others) And I believe that we are now reaping the results of it. One of my sons is in the Airforce and so I am not blessed to see his children grow and be a "physical" part of their growing years ..it grieves me but this is a God would have it... they are in His Sovereign care.. and I know he understands this mothers aching heart. My other son lives less than 2 miles away and I have the pure joy of seeing his children regularly. My daughter-in-law is a loving kind young lady and I am happy to have her as a daughter. She was raised by a single Mom who worked and she did not want that to happen to her kids. But it hasn't been easy for her... nor for us as we have forged out a relationship. We have had some very hard times since my grandson was born (he just turned 4) but so much has changed since their daughter (now 20 months) was born. I marvel at God's ways! I want to be the Titus 2 woman to my children and their spouses and the young ladies at church. Like Gina it was quite the awakening I got when I set my heart to this. (rather than pursue a career to 'enjoy my senior years') I think you and I are much alike Gina and I understood your heart as you wrote... and I have learned that what I intend as helpful and loving others may perceive as intrusive and pushy. That was the hardest lesson for me to learn....humility in this place. I am still learning. As God teaches me the way of a true Titus 2 woman through reaching out to my children and the young women at church I realize that I am also teaching the younger women by my example...allowing God to have HIS way in my heart. I have experienced all you have and more and it was painful and frustrating. But you will find that as God leads you through prayer and stumbling and growth that even in this season of life we will do most of our 'teaching' by example. My daughter in law has yet to learn how to 'control' her children. She clings to her own ways and is suffering because of it. She continually marvels at how well they behave when around me and my daughter...but instead of realizing that it is because we are consistant she writes it off as 'you don't have them all the time or you wouldn't be able to do that'. This has been very frustrating...and I used to think she just needed to hear the truth. But after four years I realize that only God can open her heart to it. I struggle terribly seeing my grandson grow to be a rude inconsiderate child when around his mother. . . it is so hard. It IS hard to not give into a hopelessness. But I know that is not of God. I have my grandkids every Wednesday and we have a wonderful time. They are such a joy to be around when it is just me and them. I ache for my daughter in law that she misses out on this kind of 'daily' joy. And yet she is wanting it and continues to seek my advice and is grateful for my helping her as I do. I realize only God can open her eyes to the truth. I pray that He will give me the grace and mercy I need to be the Titus 2 woman my d-i-l needs....that my grandchildren need. I think we all have to fight against the desire to have 'instant' results. My d-i-l was raised in a Morman home...she is just learning the truths of the Bible..I must be patient and loving. I guess my best advice to you Gina is to keep doing as you believe God is leading you to do. He IS faithful. I think you will find it will be the 'moments' of joy He gives when you are able to help someone that keep you going. We do need women who want to be there for young mothers...even if the young mothers don't realize they need it. Pray that God will bring them to a place of understanding. Love even when it hurts and 'seems' to go against what is right (which is my case mean that I show love when what I want to do is just wring a neck and say "don't you see'...ah yes we must always battle our flesh) It is good to read all these comments and see that God is truly doing a work in the lives of young and old alike. And aren't we blessed that we have the experience of the internet to reveal this...when we don't see it in our local church or community. Press on Ladies... we fight a GOOD fight.
In Christ, Diane in Oregon USA

For this reason also,since the day we heard of it,we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the
knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,to please Him in all respects,bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
Colossians 1:9-12

Leah Maria said...

This makes me angry, too.

I'm not yet a mother, but recently married at age 20. But I already have the ideas and theories on how I'm going to raise my children- and it's based on how my parents raised us.

Somebody on this thread said that the current "young mums" generation doesn't know how to be a visitor in another home. This amazed me, as my family spent a lot of time in other people's homes. Even now, I remember how I was disciplined if I misbehaved in another person's home. Often all I needed was a warning, but if I deserved a smack, I sure got one. And if my kids don't do as they're told after a warning, they're going to get a smack too. My landlord & landlady, who live in the house next door, have a fully grown son who seems nice, and two primary school aged boys who pay no attention to their mother. They scream across the house for her instead of going to look for her, they ignore her when she tells them not to touch the snake that's ended up on the patio, and instead of disciplining them she pleads with them to behave. Perhaps she thinks they're too old, but I was getting smacked right up til I was 12!

Somebody needs to tell these mothers what to do. Problem is, I don't know how. I think I would be able to do it if the mother was a close friend, but not otherwise.

Maybe if she expressed her concern first; "I'd rather he didn't jump on the couch"/ "Could you get her to eat that on the tiles?" This could determine whether the mother
a) Doesn't know how to behave in a visitor's house OR
b) Doesn't have control of her child
If she immediately gets the child to stop what he's doing and he obeys, then we know she has control of the child but didn't realise his behaviour was wrong. If she tries to get the child to stop and he ignores her, then there's a problem with BOTH aspects!

mamaofive said...

Hi Jess,

I have to say that the comments on how the younger generation is just very peer oriented and how the older generation is trying to help but can't is very sobering.

I am in the middle of growing teens and toddlers at 41. How I wished for an older mom to steer me through growing teens and toddlers, and how I wish that when a young mom talks or comes over they'd have a teachable heart. Most do not. They put you in a pedestal and start flattering you, retreat and not listen to any biblical advice. They keep you out of their fellowship because they figure that we are not interested or we are "super saints" and they cannot reach that status. Most of the time I wish that they can have a clear schedule to come over for conversation and encouragement, but I find that young moms now a days cram their days with educational activities for their young children and do not get close to the hearts of their children. They want "friends" for "Owen, or Madison" , or "Noah", and seem to just want peer stuff rather than real interaction.

ll said...

Hello, Jess. I just found you while googling for the exact reference for the Titus passage for my blog. I think we have many similarities and I look forward to read more of your entries.

This particular thought is a good one to think on and I ditto Mrs. Santos comment. I only add that Gina is teaching her own 18 year old and that has immense profit. In this is also is a valuable lesson...May I train up my children to have a serving heart to both the grateful and ungrateful.

Katie said...

I think this is hard. While I agree that Moms need mentors who have been through many things before, that can't be forced. I would balk at a woman I didn't know giving advice on my children, parenting, marriage, and family. If you don't know the woman intimately, you can't advise. What you described feels forced. Just build a friendship and see if she desires your counsel down the road. She may not, your counsel might just come from her watching you in life, or she may seek it out on a few or many things.

When women had mentors in Biblical times, it wasn't someone that invited her into her home and then worried about her sofa. It was someone she knew well, lived around, worshipped with, worked the fields with, and saw regularly. Then, and only then, would she seek her counsel or heed her advice. Too many young women won't listen, and too many older women won't build relationship first.

And, if it's this hard, maybe this isn't your time to offer this type of relationship. Maybe God's telling you "not right now". Just because you are older than the person you are with doesn't mean you are to mentor or advise them.