Monday, June 13, 2011

Telling verses Guiding

I had a chance to go to a fireside recently where I had an epiphany about being a parent.  Let me back up a bit.  I have found myself, recently, in a position where people are often seeking my help and advice. To say that sounds a bit self-aggrandizing, which I'm not.  It's just that because of what I have learned facing trials in my life, others facing similar trials seek to find the same peace and calm that I have.  And I'm happy to share.

But these are adults, so when they ask me my advice I begin by saying that I don't know what the Lord would want them to do.  Often, I share what helped me when I was in a similar situation, but mostly I encourage them to pray, study, and write in their journal.

My main objective is not to tell anyone what to do, because that would be obnoxiously presumptive of me.  After all, who am I to advise someone else?  But I know that the Lord knows what they should do, after all personal revelation is...personal.  And the best help I can provide for anyone will come in teaching them how I am learning to listen to the Spirit and follow the promptings I receive.  I'm far from perfect, but I'm willing to share what I'm learning if it might benefit someone else. 

So here comes my epiphany: why don't I do that for my children?  Especially with Emma.  She's 12 now and she starting to need to make decisions on her own.  But instead of saying, "I don't know what you should do, but I know the Lord knows what you should do."  And then teach her about prayer--real prayer not the repeating the same stuff you say over and over at meals or bedtime prayers, then teach her the power of journaling, seeking answers through scriptures and New Era or Ensign articles.  It could be so powerful!  It could be so helpful!

Instead I tend to say, "You should do (insert my own "wise" idea)."  To which she reacts by saying, "That won't work!  I can't do that!"  Then I get frustrated and say things like, "If you won't listen to me then just figure it out on your own.  So far everything I've said is wrong!"

But there's a reason why everything I've said is wrong.  Because it is.  It's MY idea of how to solve her problem and it stems from years of MY experience.  But she's absolutely right.  This might not be the way to solve HER problem.

It would be far better and so much wiser to stop acting like I have all the answers.  Because I don't.  But I know Who has all the answers and I'm getting better and better at turning things over to Him and letting Him lead me to do what I should do next.  What a gift that would be if I can help Emma--or any of my children--know how to find His answers rather than giving them my two cents.

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