One thing that has led to greater peace in my life is when I decided to stop clicking on (and then reading) those numbered advice articles. You know the ones: "7 Things to Ensure a Happy Marriage!" and "10 Ways to Raise a Happy Kid" as well as, "3 Ways to Be Truly Successful" and, of course, "4 Things You Absolutely Have to Do Unless You Want Your Kids to End Up Psychotic Murderers." Those ones.
I like lists, in general, I really do. I like beautiful bullet points because they're easy to read, easy to organize, and easy to refer back to. It's a common appreciation, and this is why these types of articles are widely read, widely spread, and widely written. We like directions. We like succinct (thank you, click bait world) details that do not waste time discussing things --we want action! Results! Immediately!
And I think that's why I've had to stop reading those articles.
(Unless I end up writing one of them... HA! Haha-ha! Ha... hmmm....)
A lot of them are really, really good. Some have absolute profound guidance that will improve most marriages and parenting, but many do not. Many have ideas that cannot be implemented into every family or marriage because they are either too general --or too specific. I've read articles that would absolutely help a family with two children, but wouldn't even begin to scratch the surface of the dynamics in a family with more than six children. I've also read articles that would help moms of many, but wouldn't be very appreciated by moms with a few children. Some tell us how we can be happy or healthier, and although full of good ideas, some are just not logical. I read one where it told me that if I want to be happy, I need to be following an 11-point routine every morning that included dry brushing my skin, taking cold showers, and meditating for one hour. Uhh... maybe in 20 years I'll have time for that?
My biggest problem with these articles, however, is that they end up making me feel guilty. Here I'll be, thinking I'm doing a pretty good job on the mothering front, when an article will pop up and BAM! I realize I've been doing everything wrong and now my children are doomed! Or I'll be thinking how great my husband is to me and then POW! I'll see that he's most likely having an affair with a supermodel and I'm pushing him into drug trafficking. I'm left feeling my children are all going to end up in jail while l end up alone, walking the streets of... wherever.
"Well, golly, Cheryl," you say, dear reader, "just don't read them!"
"Thanks, dear reader," I say, "for suggesting that, because that's what I'm doing!"
Since the only time I should feel guilty is when I sin (and I've got enough of that, eh?), I decided the best way for me to not give into the despair I feel when I read these kinds of articles is to simply not read them. Well, most of them. The vast majority. Well, not all the time, anyway.
It's almost impossible to solve relationship problems with a bullet list, anyway. The things that need to be taught the most are the slowly built up foundations of a million tiny decisions. It's kind of like... an anthill. A river dam? Maybe it's more like... sediment and canyons being formed... Bit by bit, a character is forged. Piece by piece, ethics are acquired. A well-versed article can be one of those pieces, but it won't change a person overnight. The biggest changes are always intangible, anyway.
Maybe the answer for me is moderation. Read some articles with suggestions about something I need suggestions for, and sift through the rest, only choosing things that may actually help. Seems obvious, of course, but I'm not known for going the obvious way. Usually.
And with that out of the way, I'd like you to read my TOP 6 WAYS TO GET CHILDREN EXCITED ABOUT CHORES!
1. How the heck should I know?!?!?
2..., 3-6: See number one.