#67 Don’t Ask A Question If You Aren’t Ready For The Answer

You aren’t four years old yet — but my experience with four year olds is that they ask a LOT of questions. You know what I like about them though? They ask all those questions and they truly want the real nitty gritty answer. It is often the parents or adults who feel awkward about the question asked, and skirt their way around answers when most four year olds I know could more than handle the truth. I wish I could say the same for adults.

Life is full of questions- tough questions at that. Where do babies come from? Where does my dog go when it dies? Am I proud of the person I am becoming? Why did I not get the job I applied for? Now that I have this job WHY did I apply for it? Does he love me? Do I love him? How are you? No REALLY how are you? Do I go to college? Where? Is it time to put mom in a nursing home? Will I be able to retire one day?

You get the point.

I’m making you a promise right now that as you begin to face life’s questions –simple and complex– I will always do my best to be honest with you. To give you the straight answer, and if I don’t know the answer I’ll help you find it. Please be prepared though, because I do not promise to give you the answer you would like, hope for, or desire to hear — if it would be telling you a lie. Don’t think you want an honest answer? Then don’t ask.

I want you to always inquire, to desire to know more about the world around you and yourself. However, the world doesn’t need any more people asking questions who don’t have a thick enough skin to handle the truth. I’m not saying that the answer to every question is something bad or grotesque or discouraging, I just want you to be prepared incase you find out something you weren’t expecting. Ask questions–learn–be pleased with the good and struggle your way through the bad. Just make sure that when you ask, you have your ears and heart ready for the answer.

#59 Use People’s Criticism to Build You Up–Not Break You Down

Every where you go there will be people who judge you or critique you. It is simply a fact of life. Some of the people will do it as part of their own job, like your boss for example. They are paid to train, coach, and evaluate you at work. As your parent I’m sure there will be times (whether you like it or not) that I may have a critique or two for you as well. There will also be people who give unwelcome and uncalled for critiques of the things you do. Perhaps it will be a peer, someone you idolize, or even a complete stranger.

I’m giving you a heads up now..so that when the comments or criticism come your way you will be prepared to handle it. It is never fun to have your weaknesses pointed out. However, you can use the words of those who point them out to you as a way to improve yourself.

The first thing you have to do is consider whether what the person is telling you really IS an area you need to work on. When your boss or someone who cares about you points out an area of weakness–they are most likely doing it to give you a chance to improve in a positive way. If we were never told our weaknesses by caring or important people we would have an awful hard time improving upon ourselves. A bully or a peer might have criticism on the way you dress or do your hair–and that is where you need to either be prepared to stand by your personal choices or go seek advice from a more trustworthy source!

The MOST IMPORTANT thing is that when negative words come your way you don’t let them lower your self worth. Use them as a chance to evaluate a decision or your actions and then adjust accordingly. Realize that nobody is perfect and that your weaknesses make you human. The best thing you can do is admit you have areas that you need to work on and then take small steps to get better every day.

People will take lots of opportunities to remind you that you aren’t a perfect person–but I wouldn’t have you any other way.

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#46 Be Open For Advice From Unexpected Places

Over the next 45 days (or there about) I am going to be elaborating on advice I wish I could say was entirely my own. However it is not. It is indeed the advice that inspired me to write this blog and it came to my work inbox almost 2 years ago now. It is advice from an article by Regina Brett from Cleaveland, Ohio. She once wrote in an article 45 pieces of advice. Following that advice has already started changing my life. Some of it was advice that I already followed, without really knowing I did. Other parts of it were new revelations to me that changed my thinking on many aspects of my life.

Over the next 45 days I will be elaborating on her advice. If I skip a piece of it–I will note that too along with the reason.

I want you to remember that advice comes from many sources. Your parents, your friends, your grandparents, the Bible, and from yourself. Be open to it.¬†Sift through it. Apply some–and throw some (ok a lot) of it out.

Listen to the world and people around you. They will give you insight and guidance to making the most of your life.

One last thing, listen to children. I can’t wait to hear your insight and vision for life as you hit three and four. Children have given me some of the best perspective in life. Even when you are ninety — listen to children.