Have you been a parent? Or have you mentored and taught skills to someone else in any capacity? You have? Perfect! This encouragement is for you!
People don’t always agree on what constitutes good advice. It can be discouraging when you take time to teach someone something important to you and they decide to do it differently. Hopefully after reading this post, you will understand how to smile when you know the best advice was ditched.
We strive to give our best advice
I remember when my mom was confronted with the reality that, as a mom myself, I didn’t do laundry the way she taught me. I think she was disappointed. I felt like I’d let her down. She had taught me the way she thought was the absolute best, but I did it (and taught my kids) differently.
I have been thinking about that lately because my grown children do so many things differently than the way they were taught. It stings. At first, I thought I was disappointed in them for disregarding what they’d learned from me. But ultimately, when I correctly identified the basis for my feelings, I was disappointed with me. I felt like I must not have advised them well enough.
Are you tracking with me? Does someone in your life do their laundry differently, so to speak? It could apply to any skill. Maybe you think I’m silly. Is it different if, instead of a skill, it is a mindset?
What if your prodigy makes decisions based on different principles? Or lives according to an alternate worldview? Or chooses another religion? Or substitute anything important to you, which you genuinely tried (and expected) to pass on. What then?
What do we do when our best advice is ditched?
Disappointment is exhausting. I recently tired of it and prayed that God would help me ditch it. My kids doing the chores differently (or not doing them at all!) only bothers me when it happens under my roof. I don’t have much emotion tied to how they choose to do those things in their own homes.
But there are things that I really believe, down to the tippy tips of my toes, will affect their quality of life. Those things are faith, finances, and friends. When I see my kids making [what I consider to be] foolish choices in those areas, it hits me in the gut.
What are those deep-seeded areas of importance for you? Do you have things that are most-important in what you are trying to impart to someone else? How do you feel when they reject it?
God has encouraged me threefold in this arena and I wanted to share it because I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”1 Peter 5:6, 7
This is how to smile when you know the best advice was ditched.
- If you have diligently taught, you have done your part. Your job is to impart what you believe and why. If someone can explain it back to you – even if they don’t agree or choose to live by it, you have taught them well.
- If you have walked the talk, you have done your part. It is important to tell someone what you believe, but as the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. If you have been an example of actions consistent with your words, you have modeled well. (see 3 Reasons Why “Well Done” is better than “Well said”)
- If you have taught someone to use critical thinking, you have done your part. If you don’t want your protégé to be unduly influenced by others, you must accept that they might not follow your ideas either. If those under your tutelage have learned to examine their world and make informed decisions, you have done well.
There are many ways to accomplish tasks, and most are not moral issues. Behavior and belief can be weightier. But if you have done the above three things, you have done well. If you are still concerned when your part is done, pray for them. It is between them and God now.
If someone knows where you stand on an issue, and they know why, and they intentionally choose differently, do not be disappointed in yourself. Leave it to the Lord. Do your best and commit the rest!
If you notice someone has ditched your best advice, do not nag or harp on the issue. Offer your opinion when it is wanted but otherwise, take your words on the matter to your Heavenly Father. Let Him speak to your loved one. His words have power and the benefit of perfect timing.
“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.”2 Timothy 2:24
If you have taught, modeled, and encouraged good decision making, you can smile, even if you know the advice was ditched. You have done your part. You have done well.
When we look back, I’m sure we can all identify areas where we do not feel like we did our best to give good advice. More than ever, these things should be given to God. He might give us a do-over. But even if not, He loves people more than we do and can make up for any deficit they experience because of us.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”2 Corinthians 12:9
Tell me, what best advice have you given only to have it loosely followed or ditched altogether? Did you feel disappointed? Can you give it over to God and let Him encourage your heart on the matter today?
If you’d like more encouragement on this subject, read Why I Trust God Enough to Contentedly Let Go and Let Glow