According to Wikipedia – Sherpa are an ethnic group from the most mountainous region of Nepal, high in the Himalayas.
Of course what they are most famous for is their ability as mountaineers and their knowledge of the local terrain. They were so valuable as guides to the explorers of the Himalayan region that the term Sherpa has become synonymous with guide or mentor in other situations as well. I think there are three characteristics of following a Sherpa that every parent could benefit from. I want to give credit to Michael Hyatt for the imagery of Sherpa. Kelli and I have often bristled when others would refer to us as parenting “experts” or marriage “experts”. We much prefer Michael’s concept of being a Sherpa- in other words a guide for marriage and parenting. Like a Sherpa we offer to guide others to places we have been. Specifically I think there are 3 things Sherpa offer that we can offer you if you will let us.
- Sherpa are known for their hardiness. Physically and emotionally they have done what those using their services desire to do. When it comes to the challenges of raising a Godly family, we are hardy! Our marriage muscles, our parenting muscles have been conditioned well over time. In the world of raising a family we are in shape! Our marriage has been shaped by strife and discord… our parenting has been chiseled by the realities of raising eleven children. Certainly we hope we’ve done more than simply survive, but some benefit comes with simply surviving the highs and lows, the successes and storms of growing a family.
- Sherpa are known for their expertise. While this might seem like a contradiction to what I said above, let me explain. I’m not sure if you asked a Sherpa to explain the science surrounding Mt. Everest or to give an explanation of how all the equipment they use is manufactured and why it works they would be able to do so. I could be wrong, but my suspicion is their expertise isn’t in the science surrounding the journey, their expertise is in the journey itself. They can’t tell you why the equipment works only how to use the equipment. In much the same way, Kelli and I rely on the experts (those called to experiment and study people and relationships) to provide data and research. Sometimes the experts are able to provide the information but not the best way to utilize what they know. On the other hand we strive to have expertise in applying God’s truth as well as the truth we get from “experts” in our families. That’s why you will often hear us state what God says (the ultimate expert) or what some study has found, but then provide you with some practical methods of living that truth out.
- Finally Sherpa are known for their experience. Someone once said, “Experience is the best teacher; as long as it’s someone else’s experience.” If I were trying to find a safe path up Mt. Everest I would want to learn from someone else’s experience. We often tell people, God gave us eleven kids because that’s how much work he needed to do on us. Each child works on a different area God is growing in us. But also, eleven kids means we’ve made more mistakes than most people. We want others to learn from our experience. That’s why we share real stories from our life in hopes it will encourage and teach others to be all God intended them to be.
As we get back in the swing of blogging please know how excited we are to be a resource for you. In the very near future our podcasts will be available followed by other helps as we develop them. I hope you will let us be your Sherpa on your journey up the mountain! If you are wondering where to start check out this article we wrote on parenting or this one about marriage.
Have you had some Sherpa in your lives? We’d love to hear from you.