Part of parenting is Warning. We spend a lot of time saying, “Don’t do that. Be careful. Watch out.”
When the boys were young they needed to hear that. There was so much that they didn’t know. One wag said, “Good judgment comes from bad experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.”
I don’t want to my sons to have bad experiences so I try to give them good advice. Unfortunately, as parents, sometimes we don’t know when to turn off the good advice. In the process we sometimes state the obvious.
When my second son Andrew was little, he liked to tie strings on stuff and work them as a sort of bolo. One day he had some GI Joe or something tied to the string. He swung it around his head. It caught his neck and wrapped up fast the GI Joe slamming into his face. I remember saying, “Andrew, be careful that thing can spin around and hit you in the face.”
He just looked at me with this unbelieving stare. NO KIDDING!
Stating the obvious is usually irritating. But it’s so easy to do. When someone hurts himself, its easy to state the obvious.
“Oh be careful.” Too late, I’m already hurt!
Someone trips and falls, “Watch your step.” You think!?
Here’s another time well-meaning friends tend to state the obvious. When you are grieving. They will come with all sorts of well meaning advice. “It will get better” “It could be worse.” “You know this happened to me.” All true. But not needed. Do you know what folks need most when they are hurting? They need you to just hurt with them.
Jim Baylys lost three children in the course of several years. He gave this insight,
I was sitting, torn by grief. Someone came and talked to me of God’s dealings, of why it happened, of hope beyond the grave. He said things I knew were true. I was unmoved, except to wish he’d go away.
Another came and sat beside me. He didn’t talk. He just sat beside me listened when I said something, answered briefly. Prayed simply. Left. I was moved. I was comforted. I hated to see him go.
Chances are, you will come across someone hurting today. Don’t state the obvious. Just love them. Feel with them. Pray with them. Help them.
That’s the good news, now have a great day.