Dear Kids, (My advice on advice)

Ask for it. It’s a simple rule of thumb that I wish I had learned earlier in life…Find someone who is where you want to be in life emotionally, relationally, spiritually, financially, physically…and ask them how they got there. If their strategies line up with your personal convictions then do it that way!

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The world would have you to believe that asking for advice is a sign of weakness or foolishness, but the Bible says, “The way of the fool seems right to them, but the WISE listen to advice.”- Proverbs 12:15 So, if you are struggling with school work, ask a friend who is making good grades for help. If your complexion isn’t great- don’t ask your zitty friend Pam what skin care she uses. (Pamela is fictional). When you are having trouble in your marriage, talk to someone with a healthy marriage. DON’T talk/gossip to your friends who talk negatively about their spouse. Seek advice from someone who has been in your shoes, figured some things out (even by error), and has ended up where you want to be in that particular arena of life.

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A couple of years ago when you guys were ages 1, 2 and 4, I was feeling overwhelmed with the idea of parenting. I realize this was premature anxiety on my part-what exactly can you screw up? Potty training? But still I was convinced that there is a reason why kids don’t remember the first years of life…It’s God’s grace so that parents can get their act together. Your dad is the best teammate ever when it comes to this game of life, but he was just as inexperienced as me in this new stage of life. What I quickly discovered was that there is A LOT of advice out there on parenting. Books, TV, friends and family are quick to offer their (correct) way of child rearing. Don’t get me wrong-some advice was good and some was well…unsolicited. (Don’t give unsolicited advice. That’s annoying and usually not well received. UNLESS you have a relationship of trust with the person and you can clearly see they are headed down a path that “seems right to them”.)

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So when it came to listening to the “experts”, I found myself only entertaining advice from 1) people who actually HAD kids and 2) parents that actually had kids THAT HAVE TURNED OUT OK. In the plethora of advice this really narrowed down the list. Specifically, I reached out to some friends who have a loving, godly and thriving marriage (the foundation for emotionally stable children), and 4 fantastic kids who LOVE Jesus. (I was the first babysitter to their oldest who is now in college!)  She was flattered by my compliment on their family.  I asked “how they did it” and she recommended a book that she and her husband have studied and put into their parenting practice. Did I get the book? Heck yeah! Although I must admit that the cover was so outdated that I thought for sure the information would be as well, but it turns out that the “old school is the cool school”. Now I’m positive I will make every correct parenting decision from here on out for you guys. Kidding. I know there will be bumps on this parenting road, but when there are I will PRAY, ASK the people I trust for ADVICE, and then I WILL TAKE IT.

“Wisdom is found in those who take advice”- Proverbs 13:10

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 When I was younger and not wise (a side effect of being young) I was an advice giver. Not an advice taker. I still cringe remembering an encounter I had with a mother when I was a 21 year-old personal trainer working at a nutrition supplement store.  She came in with her small children and was asking MY advice on any supplements, salves or exercise that would help her post baby tummy. I remember the desperation in her eyes when she asked, “will my stomach ever go back to the way it was before having kids?!” To which I said, “Absolutely”. Ridiculous. I can laugh at myself now. What was I thinking offering advice to this poor woman about something about which I had no personal experience? But what is more ridiculous is that SHE ASKED ME! What were you thinking lady?!  Ask somebody who knows what the heck they are talking about and has some proof to back it up. I wish she would ask me now…I’d show her my jacked up belly button and we would both have a good laugh.

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What I have learned over the years is that I have a lot to learn. But since most children don’t think that their parents know very much (until they grow up and realize that they actually know a lot), my only advice is to you is to seek advice. So that you may become wise.  And I will pray that God puts wise people on your path and gives you the courage to ASK for directions. And maybe one day… you will ask me and your Dad.

 

Always with you on your journey,

Mom

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