One of the best lessons I have learned as a mother is to listen to my children.
Because I’m the mother, I get to decide which advice to take.
I have said no to totally gutting the inside of our old house and starting over.
I’m not sure what else I’ve said no to, but I bet my girls could make you a list.
I have two daughters, so I get double advice.
Daughter Number Two, Laura, is pictured above. When Laura and I go shopping, she helps me pick out clothes. She doesn’t like frump or bag. In fact, she HATES frump or bag. I always get compliments on what she chooses for me, probably because I look less frumpy and baggy.
Laura insisted a few years ago that I get an IPod, and I did. That sent me on many happy miles of walking with my favorite music.
Laura’s latest project is my fitness program. She (and the rest of the family) kindly refrained from any sniping comments when I was the last one up the mountain on our Thanksgiving hike. Actually, I felt they were lucky I made it up the mountain at all.
But a few weeks after, Laura said, “Mom, I think you need to work on your fitness level.” I guess I haven’t been walking fast enough with my IPod. ( It’s also probably not a great idea to circumvent all hills I encounter in our town of Hillsborough.)
And so I get it. I’m not just lucky to make it up the mountain. I need to be fit enough, especially for the sake of my heart, to make it up the mountain without taking in most of the mountain’s air.
Resolved. (And this works with my plan for Naked Church in July.) We’ll see how I do.
But this post isn’t really about fitness or fashion. It’s about listening to kids, be they our own children or nieces, nephews, cousins, grandchildren, or young people who aren’t even related to us. We can decide to take their advice or not. It’s the listening that’s important.
Advice from kids feels different. It’s given with great love and usually, flat out honesty. The young ones don’t tiptoe around. We react, I think, with honesty and openness too. I’ve found, in talking with my girls, that I’m less defensive than I am with spouse, friends, colleagues, or parents. Not always, but often.
After all, deep down, don’t we want that remarkable child to be right?
Photo: Laura and I on the top of Humpack Rock Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway. BTW, she’s also working on her dad. She wants him to color his gray hair. Guess what sort of luck she’s having with that suggestion? Zilch, thus far.