Listen to advice and accept instruction

I posted this saying from Proverbs 19:20 on our refrigerator when I still had a teen living at home: “Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.” Perhaps you can relate - Jackson treated everything I said as lacking in merit. Hence the sign. In fact, all three of my children, through their teen years, really thought I was stupid.

I posted the sign for him to see, so he would learn to accept feedback and act upon it.

The truth is – we all need, no matter our age - a reminder about that bit of refrigerator wisdom.

How often, like a teenager, does our back go up when someone tells us how to do something in a better way – a way that, if we listened, would actually improve our life, our work, our family or any other relationship or experience?

As the owner of a newspaper, a very public out-there-for-all-to-see product, I get my fair share of critique and criticism. And also praise.

Over the years, I’ve learned that although the praise feels good, it doesn’t always improve our product. Yes, praise does indeed let us know when we are on the right track. But thoughtful critical critique, especially when given in the spirit of instruction and improvement, is also very beneficial.

As a former coach, I loved it when a player accepted instruction and actually put it into use – to see a young softball player improve her hitting by implementing the instruction to hold her hands together or the high school basketball player improve her jump shot by holding her elbows closer to her body, is thrilling for a coach. My son, Ben, significantly improved his distance freestyle times by accepting and implementing his coach’s instruction to use the dolphin kick off his turns. Sports instruction provides such a visual example of seeing someone gain wisdom and improvement by listening to advice and accepting instruction.

But it’s evident everywhere. I send my column to our editor for feedback and get especially jacked up when she makes a suggestion to a sentence I write that improves it - tightens it up and makes it sing. In all likelihood, she did it to this very column.

Where in your life can you ask for and be more receptive to feedback?

Wouldn’t you like to have more wisdom tomorrow than you have today? I sure would!

And, for the record, Carly denies that she ever thought I was stupid and I happily report that Jackson now actively seeks my counsel.

But honestly, as a parent and in many other areas, I did have my fair share of “duh” moments. I still do – that’s why, even though the kids have all left the nest, the sign is still on our refrigerator!

Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

Office Number: 843-856-1999
Fax Number: 843-856-8555


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