Unsolicited Advice on Unsolicited Advice
(photo by my DH)
I have a friend who is expecting a baby sometime this month. Baby’s bring out many opinions on how you should have the baby, what kind of schedule the baby should have or even about breastfeeding or not. Right now my friend is feeling a little overwhelmed by all the unsolicited advice. It’s not that she doesn’t want to learn from others because I have seen her asking questions of other young mothers and getting their advice. It’s the unsolicited kind that can drive a person crazy. Now I am not usually guilty of giving unsolicited advice about babies because we survived that stage only by God’s grace. On the other hand, I find myself giving unsolicited advice on raising preschoolers or even how to teach math or a variety of other topics. Sometimes this advice is well received and sometimes I am not so sure. I am not trying to be bossy or a know it all but it probably comes off that way. I really want to help the other person but am not going about it the right way.
This past month I have been reading Invitation to the Jesus Life by Jan Johnson. In the chapter on listening, Jan talks about how she was attempting to practice the discipline of silence by not giving her opinion unless asked. Yikes! Sounds like an impossible task but this past week with God’s help I attempted to do just that. Lots of silence on my end since no body asked for my opinion which makes it a pretty humbling experience. One thing I noticed though is that when I am not thinking of what I want to say I am a better listener. The focus is more on the other person and less on me. Now in regards to my teenagers, I am still trying to figure out what is unsolicited advice and what is just being on top of things as a mom so if you have any good suggestions let me know.
Dear God, Thank you for your listening ear and that you alway hear us. May I be wise in who I ask for advice from. May I also lean on your spirit in my daily interactions so that I will speak only your words. May I be silent when I need to be silent always praying for your great work in the people I interact with daily. Amen