Hello, my little black daughters,
How did the 2019 holiday season go for you? Mine was superb. I took some time off social media and really soaked in the presence and company of my growing family! Growing family? No, I’m not pregnant. You can breathe again. Inhale, Exhale. OK. Good. Lol!
I got engaged in the fall of 2019, so it was a pleasure spending my first Christmas with my fiancé, his two sons, and my two daughters.
And I can’t leave out my granddog, Luna—my oldest daughter’s dog, who was the star of the show over Christmas. Oh my, I wish I had half that puppy’s energy. Her nickname should be Rocket, considering how she runs so fast with excitement when she sees me that she leaps in the air and charges straight at me, just like a rocket. We lost count of how many times the six of us said, “Lunaaaaa, sit!”
So Christmas was very exciting, laid back, relaxing, and a first for all of us. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day were equally laid back and restful. We ushered in the new year at home after a few tapas at a nearby Buckhead restaurant.
My family also grew because I added two more black daughters to my family. The holidays can be really stressful for some, especially with extended family around. Difficult topics are brought up by some family members. Hurt may resurface, and people simply get bogged down by all the activity and sensory overstimulation.
Two young ladies I’ve known for some time reached out to me a few days before Christmas, just needing someone to talk to, to help them sort through some confusing and sad times.
Their situations were similar. They were feeling inadequate and unfulfilled in their career paths, and there were relatives around for the holidays who were reminding them of everything they had failed to achieve career-wise. They both were doubting the paths they were on and reached out to me for clarity. One of them said she had cried for a week almost nonstop. Both were married and had kids under five years old.
I did the best I could. Took time off from focusing on myself and my new family of six and carved out time to chat with them over the phone. I listened, empathized, felt each emotion they were experiencing, and offered the best clarity and insight I could. They both said they felt a lot better and were ready to navigate life on a lighter and more positive note. This was a 2019 Christmas highlight for me and made it even more special. I felt the pain these two young women felt, and I also equally felt their relief after our conversations. I’ve kept in touch with them, and they are happier and more energized to begin this new year.
Trust me, as I turn 50 this year, every scenario I’ve discussed with young women, I’ve also personally experienced at one time or the other, so it just shows how similar and intertwined all our lives are. Green, yellow, white, black, African, Asian, European, immigrant, nonimmigrant, short, tall, rich, poor…we all have human issues we have to deal with from time to time.
The light within us glows for a season, then it may get dim for a season, and unfortunately, at times our light goes out completely. The last situation is one we all want to avoid. We must recognize when the light within us is about to completely burn out, and we must reach out for help from trusted people. This is why I was glad those two ladies reached out to me over Christmas.
My little black daughters, please do not allow that glowing light within you to burn out. Do not allow it to get extinguished. As soon as you start to feel down, helpless, hopeless, sad, depressed, confused, please reach out for help. If you’re still living at home with your parents, please talk to them. Your parents love you, but you have to speak up. If your parents are not available or accessible, identify a trusted relative or mentor you can reach out to. Having a mentor for your good and not-so-good times is crucial as young women.
While you are going through seasons when your light is glowing bright and you are at your best, that’s a good time to identify a mentor you can connect with easily. Ask them if you can reach out when things are not as good or when you need guidance and uplifting.
My little black daughters, don’t wait till you are down and your light is burned out before you identify a mentor. Do it today, and ask to have a chat with them now, or even meet in person for tea or coffee, and ensure you both connect on many levels.
Secure a mentor for yourself when life is good, so you can reach out to them when life is not so good to you. Don’t wait till things fall apart inside you before you secure a mentor.
Who is a mentor?
A mentor is a person experienced in a particular field or business who shares the benefits of that experience with a younger person just coming up, called a mentee. The role of a mentor is usually to help mentees set up an action plan to achieve specific career goals, though a mentor can provide guidance in other areas of a mentee’s life as well. (As defined on masterclass.com.)
My little black daughters, have you identified a mentor who can help you set up an action plan to achieve your specific career goals and who can provide guidance in other areas of your life?
If your answer is yes, well done!
If your answer is no, what are you waiting for?
Make today the day you identify and secure a mentor!
How Do You Find a Mentor?
Look for someone you’d like to be like. Read about them on their social media profiles. Request to follow or friend them. Ask for a meeting in person or by Skype or even just a phone call to kick the mentorship relationship off. Be mindful of their time. Don’t push too hard to meet. This is why you should secure a mentor when you are doing well, so you can already have a connection with them for not-so-good times. Relatives and family friends can also be good mentors.
Choose wisely. Choose someone you look up to, who shares your values, and with whom you have a good rapport with and can be vulnerable with.
Things You Shouldn’t Do in the Process of Securing a Mentor
- Don’t ask someone you are physically, romantically, or emotionally attracted to, to mentor you.
- Be cautious and tactful if asking someone of the opposite sex to mentor you. This could get dicey if attraction develops.
- It’s probably not wise to ask your boss to mentor you. You need someone outside of your workplace, someone who is neutral.
- If you feel your mentor is holding you back or is negative and dismissive of everything you share, it’s OK to tell them “thanks, but no thanks” in a polite way.
My little black daughters, we are all on this earth to light others’ lights. To add value to others’ lives and be of influence to them.
Look for people who will light your light, and then you must pass it on and light others’ lights too.
As I posted recently on my social media, I love the Christmas service at my home church, Buckhead church. As we walk in for service, we are all handed small white candles. Then during the service, with the lights dim, a few church staff come out to light a few of those candles. Then each of us starts lighting candles all around us, and within just a few minutes, the entire church is lit with candlelight. It’s such a moving and powerful visual of lighting others’ lights.
In 2020, and this decade, and beyond, join me in advocating for lighting others’ lights as we, one person at a time, make the world a better place for all of us.
Please add the hashtag #lightotherslight whenever you post a topic related to this mission.
May we all be permanently happy as we light others’ lights!