I should write the book entitled, “The Tricky Parent’s Guide to Giving Good Advice So Your Grown Kids Won’t Know You Did It And You Can Deny Everything.” Title too long? Oh well, the book would be really short anyway.
Every parent of grown up kids knows that waiting until they ask is the hardest part. Our reward for raising awesome kids is even worse. If our kids turn out all right, another problem arises. They only ask us for advice on really tricky stuff that we don’t have answers for, right?
I thought I would be wiser by now.
It seems my safest go-to response these days is, “I don’t know. That’s a really good question. You are really smart. I am confident in your ability to figure it out.”
Even judicious advice like that can come back to bite ya, though.
“Don’t bother asking mom for advice about whether you should marry him,” laughed my oldest daughter as her sister was about to say yes.
I am pretty sure its bad manners for moms to comment on who to marry, so I protested.
“Why is that a bad thing?”
“Don’t you remember what you told me when I wanted to get married?” asked my oldest. Well, no, I did not remember.
She proceeded to remind me that my first answer was I did not have any advice; that she needed to make her own decision because she would be the one living with it. So far, so good. But, apparently I didn’t stop there.
I went on to add that when we get married it is your husband, you, and God. Sometimes your husband won’t show up. Physically, emotionally, spiritually; sometime, somehow we all go AWOL. In those moments, it will be just you and God. You love the potential spouse enough to be okay when that happens, as it surely will along the way.
My kids think I’m funny even when I’m trying to be wise. I guess I’m okay with that. A sense of humor is a sign of intelligence.
Good Advice and Humility
My best guess is that humility becomes the mark of good parenting eventually. Humility includes being able to admit that we don’t have all the answers. As they proceed along to adulthood, integrity teaches our kids to trust us. But better yet, integrity born out of humility models trusting ourselves to make good decisions, even when we don’t have all the answers.
When our kid are little the answers seem smaller, too, at least momentarily. Sorta. When they are toddlers we can send them to bed and pray. As they enter their teens, though, their questions get tougher. But, hey, one good thing about parenting teenagers is that it tends to humiliate you plenty along the way, so it’s a win-win. Parents tend to develop humility whether we want it or not. That’s good because by adulthood our kids’ questions are way out of our league.
May the fellowship in your family be so sweet that they seek your advice. And may you give them advice they remember long after you forget.
I Want to Hear From You
What strategies have worked for you when it comes to getting excellent advice? Which decisions proved to be wise in the end? What do you wish you had done differently?
May I pray for you?
Dear Wise and Kind Father, have mercy on us and bless us with Your wisdom. It is so easy to feel overwhelmed when so much is riding on us as parents. We hold little ones in our arms and look desperately to You. When they grow up, lo and behold, we find we are still praying that they will be wise. Teach us the humility and integrity that comes from recognizing our frailties and failures, while trusting You for wisdom. We tremble with relief because You are a trustworthy parent, even when we fail. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Cathy Krafve, Texas Author, Columnist, Speaker, and Radio Personality, specializing in Christian Marriage and Family invites your stories, ideas, and questions at CathyKrafve.com. Truth with a Texas Twang.