Giving Advice

I am in a sometimes awkward position of having an adolescent child while I work with a couple hundred adolescents.

Professionally, I think I am pretty good at what I do.  I have the skills, the passion, and the dedication to keep me level-headed (for the most part) and consistent. I communicate well with adolescents (generally); I realize this means listening and understanding even more than it does speaking for their understanding.

Contrast this with my dealings with my own adolescent.  I struggle to communicate well, and, afterward, can come up with all kinds of things I could have said differently.  I think it takes me longer to process to the point of understanding what my adolescent child says to me than what others say to me.

This all reminds me of a time, 18 or so years ago, when I lived in Nacogdoches.  My younger brother Rob was visiting with a fellow SFA student.  It was later evening, and we had allowed Robbie, 2 or 3 at the time, some caffeine.  She was having trouble getting to sleep.  These things happen sometimes.

Rob’s friend announced confidently that she would NEVER give her child caffeine.

I almost responded defensively, but then remembered that I was an expert on child rearing before I had a kid, too.  So I let it go.

Ever since, I have been a bit slower to give advice. I am especially cautious in giving advice to people who are in circumstances I have never dealt with directly myself.

I am still willing to offer a listening ear and whatever experience or insight I have from my perspective.

These days I am still working on being able and open to receiving the same.

One thought on “Giving Advice

  1. I tell people that I was at the height of my knowledge sometime during my freshman year of college. The height of my child-rearing knowledge probably came after that, but not by much. Surely it was before 1987.

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