Monday, February 25, 2013

Beware of the Expert


These days it seems like everyone is an expert.  Everywhere you go, you'll meet someone ready and willing to share their expertise with you ... whether it's wanted or not.  I think no area is this more apparent than in the world of parenting.  You can't step foot outside the house with a child, and not receive unsolicited advice.  They know exactly what you should be doing, because they've been there before and they were successful.  I know they're just trying to help, and occasionally they do.  But, if you pay attention, you'll soon notice something peculiar.  All that expert advice you hear is conflicting ...  one "expert" will tell you one thing and the next "expert" will tell you the exact opposite.

I've been a mother for 12 1/2 years.  I've parented 6 different children.  I think having a larger family has made me realize that it's impossible to be an expert at parenting.   Not only am I different than any other mother on this earth, but each and every one of my children is completely different from another.  What worked perfectly with one of my children, is a complete disaster with another.   I've gained experience along the way.  There's nothing wrong with sharing our experiences.  The problem comes when we equate our experience with expertise.  Experiences are valid, but they are not universal.   When something works, that's great!  But, we need to realize that it might not work again.


I'm not saying we should never listen to those who have been in the trenches.  There is so much wisdom to be gleaned from the men and women who have gone before us.  It would be foolish not to gain as much information as we can.   But, we need to use wisdom as we apply this information to our lives. The so-called expert's experiences are legitimate, but it may not fit your children.  Weigh their advice against what you already know.   Ask God for wisdom.  Trust your instincts.

Likewise, the next time you want to play the expert, remember to cover your advice in grace.  There isn't necessarily one right way to parent.  Just because someone is doing things differently than we did doesn't mean they're failing.  It also doesn't mean that they are making an indictment on our parenting.  Share your experiences with others in your life, and let them decide what will work for them.   Support those around you, even if they make different choices than you would have.

 I will never be an expert at Motherhood.  But, I can become an expert on what Caleb, Josiah, Rachel, Jada, Sarah and Alex need to grow and thrive.  That should be my goal.  Treating each of my children as individuals and trying my hardest to meet them where they are at.  I encourage you to become an expert on your own children.


So, heed my advice ... and be wary of the information you see on this blog.  I'm sharing what has worked in raising my children.  Be pre-warned - my advice is subject to change.

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