“ He who doesn’t have legs cannot teach one how to walk.” – Unknown

 

 The other day I had an interesting experience. I witnessed a conversation in which someone who has never been a parent was giving instructions to a seasoned parent on how to parent their teenager. The only reason that I was not completely irked was because I was more amused. It was one of those situations in life where you say “ I would have been really mad if it wasn’t just so awfully funny !”

 

To me it just makes sense that kindergarteners should not be giving first graders advice,  elementary students should not be advising high schoolers, singles should not be counseling married folks and those who are not parents should most definitely not be giving instruction to those of us who have traveled a certain distance along the parenting road.

 

This is not to say that someone can not share an objective observation now and then. It is always healthy to receive information from a different angle or through another set of eyes. This is a far cry however from someone with no experience conveying instructions by numbering on their fingers several points in which the parent is not handling things correctly. But as I said, what I witnessed was so amusing that it was not a totally negative experience.

 

I think we should all be so careful in this area of assuming that we understand something that we have never lived ourselves. We can all wrongly think that we know all the details of a situation or that we can empathize or feel what another is feeling and that is just not the truth. There is an old Indian saying that says something like “ Don’t speak  until you have walked a mile in my mocassins” or something along those lines. You get the picture…basically…stay quiet until you have made the journey yourself.

 

The Bible speaks often about how a fool prattles on and on about many things thereby revealing his foolishness. The wise man however often keeps quiet….a challenging and sobering thought to all of us.

 

The next time that you are tempted to correct or admonish someone…take a moment to pause and ask yourself…   Do I have credibility here? Have I ever walked this road? Have I even had this experience myself yet?  Great questions that need to be asked and entertained before we begin to weigh in with folks on what they need to be doing in their lives. All of us are perhaps guilty to some degree of this…lets make a change and start listening and learning more than teaching and talking…especially when we just might not be qualified…..mull it over…it might help you to do so.

 

Proverbs 10 : 10-12  - He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow: but a prating fool shall fall. The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked. Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.