The Reason I Mentor

The Reason I Mentor

My family wasn’t always poor. Coming to the United States used up my family’s money quicker than we anticipated, and it wasn’t long before we were receiving support from our church. For many years, my dad worked three jobs and my mom studied to be a nurse and eventually worked the graveyard shift at a nursing home. There were several nights when one parent would come home from work, leaving the car running outside so the other could head off to their job!

Playing with neighbor kids in front of the roach-infested yellow duplex

I remember the fun little neighborhood we lived in, off a water canal in Cape Coral, Florida. The ditch in front of our yellow duplex apartment would fill up with water during rainstorms and my sister and I would get on swimsuits and splash outside in that ditch. (Gross now, fun then!) The other prominent memory I have from that apartment is that it wasn’t fun dealing with the thousands of cockroaches that also enjoyed our little apartment. I have several specific memories which I will spare you!

Despite my parents’ busy schedule, they continued to learn from great thinkers via books and cassette tapes. (Did you young ones just ask yourselves, “What are cassettes?“) After many years, my dad was able to work out a deal with a friend who was renting out his house, and we were finally able to move away from the cockroaches and into a nice home in the suburbs. Soon afterwards, my dad took a leap of faith and sold the only two “fancy things” we owned at the time to start a business: our color television and our microwave. It wasn’t easy, and it was not well received by all family members, but following many years of hard work and hard failures, he and my mom created a massive income for themselves.

This is what I learned from watching my parents: Success comes to anyone, ANYONE, who will believe in themselves AND invest in themselves. If you want people to believe in you, you must teach them how to do that. You’ve got to be the example of how they should treat you! I also know you can accelerate and keep your success if you get your relationships in order: the relationship with yourself, with family, with community and with your God.

Sounds simple, but in my many experiences in the military, in school, in college, in charities, at events, in neighborhoods, in classrooms, in relationships, at church, I have seen the opposite pattern of success being practiced. Not everyone knows what I thought everyone knew! Few people actually believe in themselves and fewer still find it important to settle and heal relationships.

Today, there is a common and growing sentiment that to be successful and have the money for everything one needs, it must be taken from someone else who has it. There is a lie being permeated that there is not enough for everyone, that there is a finite pie and for each person to get a piece, someone else has to give up a portion of their own.

We live in the greatest country in the world. (Yes, I’ll claim it!) We have every opportunity, and therefore a responsibility, to earn as much money as possible and help lift others who live in places that do not share the same conscience for basic human rights. I have a responsibility to raise daughters who know their individual worth and intrinsic power because they, too, have inherited and will honor their responsibility to bless other women, families, and children.

This is one of the reasons why I have paired up with the Women’s Education Project that helps women in India receive a basic education so they can lift themselves and their families from utter poverty. But I also believe we have women here, RIGHT HERE, who are experiencing poverty (financial poverty, intellectual poverty, and/or emotional poverty). There are women who feel trapped because they do not yet know their options. You have a purpose seeded inside you to lift yourself so you can lift others. But you must begin with you. You can only lift others if YOU first move to higher ground.

So , let’s go! Let’s move to higher ground. Sisters are waiting!