“Waaaahhhhhh!” I hear my daughter screaming at the top her lungs. I swoop in for the rescue. She’s just learned to walk, and her unsteady legs caused her trip and scrape her face on the brick wall of our porch. These mild sunny December days have lured the girls and me to spend many an hour outdoors.
Silence. She takes one of those deep breaths that lasts for thirty seconds. Uh-oh, this is going to be a big one. My Neighbor is definitely going to hear this one. “Waaaahhhhhh!!
I glance over the yard and see My Neighbor’s window blinds shift. Yep, she’s watching. Here’s another reason for her to come over and give me one of her lectures. Since the girls were born, My Neighbor, a retired eighty-three year old lady, has made it her mission to coach me to raising my girls better than she raised her own.
My Neighbor is a sweet, old school, self-sufficient lady. Gardening is her life since her family lives across the country. She has vegetables all year round, and fruit trees galore of peaches, pears, persimmons, figs. She even cuts her own grass! Picture an eighty something, five-foot Asian woman, seated atop a riding lawnmower with a pointy straw hat on her head.
We love the outdoors too. Hence, My Neighbor is right on time to witness our family drama.
The Beginning. My Neighbor’s first lecture came when the girls were just 2 months old. One of our tactics for soothing our screaming babies was to take them outside for a change of scenery. It just so happened that whenever My Neighbor was outside, we had Kaitlyn in our arms. What My Neighbor didn’t know was that the other twin had GERD and spent eight hours a day crying and in someone arms. However, all My Neighbor saw was a set of parents showing favoritism.
Ah, here came lecture number one. She told me of her three daughters and how, unbeknownst to her, the middle-child was often neglected. As an adult, the middle-child told her mother how she felt left out. My Neighbor was ignorant to that mistake and obviously did not want to see me making the same.
“That’s wisdom,” I replied and nodded my head. I appreciated her story.
The Present. Well, a year later I’ve received many more lectures. Many. And today no doubt will trigger one for later this week. I’ll nod and say, “that’s good stuff.” But, what else can I do? She’s eighty freakin’ years old and does her own lawn!
Wisdom Goes Far. All I can say is “yes ma’am, you’re right.” It’s all good advice, but it’s tough to swallow when someone repeatedly points out your mistakes. Be humble, Maya. I repeat to myself. Be quiet and listen. Wisdom is more precious than rubies (Proverbs 8:11).
Love Goes Farther. Most importantly, I need to love My Neighbor. She has no family nearby, we can show her love with the gifts of time and an ear to listen.
So, I just sigh and anticipate the next lecture. She is a sweetie and besides, she makes really good home-made jam from her abundant fruit trees. I’ll take the jam please, and pay the bargain price of listening to wisdom.
Question: How do you react to unsolicited advice? Are you graceful, or do you respond ungracefully?
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