The Original Influencer

“Momma, where did you learn to be a momma?” asked my littlest as I was rocking her in the rocking chair.

“What do you mean, honey?”

“I mean, who taught you to do all the things mommas do? How did you learn to do all the things you do?”

In that moment so many women flashed before my eyes.

First, was my mom, my greatest mentor, and the woman whom I strive to be more like. Then later, my mother-in-law, who would add to that foundation.
Susan came to mind next, the older mom at church that invited me – in my 20’s -into her home to teach me the ins and outs of making bread, while I bounced a baby on my hip. There’s my sister-in-law, who taught me the life-changing tip of making a baking soda paste to get stuck food off a baking sheet, and Stephanie, the woman that taught me to not be afraid of who God made me and how to answer His call, even when it felt scary.

I thought of Vicky, who met with several of us young moms after our babies went to bed, sharing her best ‘wife tips’ and pointing us to the Word as she spoke, and Lori, the dearest friend a few steps ahead of me, who was always there to wipe my tears, brush off the dirt,  and set me back on the trail, and I thought of Linda, the woman that told me of days past and instilled in me an understanding, appreciation, and passion for the freedom I have as a homeschool mom, taking me under her wing as I endeavor to pass that freedom on to my own children.

Tears of gratitude filled my eyes as I looked at that little girl in my arms and instantly felt an urge to share all the stories with her; all the women and the time they spent teaching me, through relationships, through sitting at their feet, through doing life together.

Titus 2 tells us how the older women are to live, and then, that the older women are to come alongside the younger and teach them, to invest in their lives, and to carry on the legacy we have been given.

My deep thoughts were broken by the call of my teenage daughter from the other room
“Mom! Can you come help me? How do I do this?”
I have now stepped into the role of the older, breathing life into, and coming alongside, the younger.  

For thousands of years this is how we have passed down wisdom and raised up men and women- through relationships and mentoring, through time invested and lives connected.

Oh, how times have changed.

With the internet we have traded in this gift for an empty imitation- and we have a new generation suffering because of it.

The online world has removed us from generational wisdom and relationships. It has become a place where anyone can learn anything, without any personal connection.

Want to learn how to preserve food? No need to talk to the older woman next door who has canned for decades, who learned at the feet of her mother during the depression and would share with you the most incredible life lessons in the process.
Instead, we now just read a blog post or watch a video of someone who just discovered this age-old practice and wants to capitalize on it through beautiful internet images.

We ignore the women that have seen more years and hold more wisdom than we can imagine. Instead, we look to our peers for advice on the other side of the screen, who “influence” us based on a motive to grow a platform.

When we need help in our homes, we follow dozens of accounts that will tell us their organization philosophy, daily schedules, and parenting “hacks”(often leaving us feeling even more discouraged) rather than seeking out the older mom that shows up at our door, sits with us over a cup of coffee, prays with us and encourages us in running our home, teaching us to serve our family, because she knows and loves us… and she has been there.

This new wave of learning has left an older generation feeling unneeded and unappreciated. It has left a younger generation with a void of all the wisdom and experience that comes from sitting at the feet of those who have gone before us. It has brought a disconnect to our communities.
In fact, the word ‘community’ no longer refers to those we do life with, but rather, the people we follow, and who follow us, online.

This generation believes that all the answers are found with the click of a button and a glance at a screen, rather than through the careful study of God’s Word at the feet of someone invested in their life.

We must be mindful of the example we are setting for the next generation.
Where will our children go when they need wise council?
Will they follow Titus 2 or will they follow an IG handle?

Will our boys be crawling under the car with dad to learn how to change the oil while talking about life, or will they just YouTube it, because that is the way they have seen us do it?

Will our girls call us when they need to know how to swaddle a baby, or will they check a Pinterest board?
Will it be the Godly women around them, or the latest online trend?
Who will teach them how to ‘be a mom’?

Where they seek wisdom will result from where they see us seek wisdom.

I urge our generation to step back, to find the value in sitting at the feet of those that have gone before us, to step away from the online communities and back into real relationships, Bible studies, mentorships, and doing life together.

I urge us to call upon the older men and women in our lives for wisdom.
I urge us to be in the here and now, interacting with people in our sphere, building real community with those around us, and passing on that Legacy to the next generation.