If You Are Going to Get Advice…

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When I was 21 years old, I was running parents and their children through a manualized child behavior treatment program. I was young. I was unmarried. I had no kids. Often parents in the program would ask me how I knew what I was doing and why it was going to be successful (which it often was) and my answer was always that it was a manualized treatment, developed by experts in the field and it has been proven effective for decades.

I knew how to run the program but I didn’t know anything about being a parent.

There are levels of advice that you can receive.

First, there are people who know about something. They have read the books. They have studied.

Second, there are people who have been around others who have been successful in a given field. They have seen it with their own eyes. This is where I was at 21 at the University of Florida.

Third, there are people who have lived it. They took the knowledge and applied it. Their wisdom has come through experience. They not only know the facts, they know the feels.

All three can be helpful but ultimately you want to get advice from a practitioner. How do you really know something if you only know it vicariously (through books or watching others) vs lived experience? You really don’t know if all you know is about something.

If you get marriage advice, get it from someone who is in a successful marriage. If you get parenting advice, get it from someone who has raised healthy and productive kids. If you want ministry advice, get it from someone who has shown competency and faithfulness. The people who are often visibly seen as the “go to” people may be clueless when it comes to what you are going through.

2 Responses

    1. Great point Robert! Also why we follow Jesus – the guy who died and came back alive…that’s who I want to follow!

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