Keeping It Simple

Kids Just Kickin Back on a Bridge
Some times things in life can just get overwhelming. Trying to learn everything you need to know can just be too much.

Over the course of my adult life I’ve read hundreds of books, magazine articles and research papers on all aspects of parenting, marriage, relationships, and even a little brain research and psychology and as I’ve been reading them, I always find myself fascinated with the way an author can delve deeply into a subject and really explore it from many different angles.

What I’ve found though, is that a few months later when I’m trying to recall what I learned from a particular book or article, only a few key take-away’s come to mind. The human brain has an amazing way of consolidating 500 pages of exploration into one or two easy to remember sentences. It also has the amazing ability to extrapolate out of one or two good sentences a universe of great thought.

This revelation inspired the format of Essence of Wisdom for Parents. I know from experience that parents managing busy schedules or a young couple getting ready for a new baby or trying to manage careers, a home, and young children often don’t have time, much less the peace and quiet, to sit down and read a stack of great books. This is what is special about the providing just the Essence. This book is focused on providing just those take-aways from the many good books and the many great conversations that I’ve had over the years. Couples today have the amazing ability to process information – they are inundated with it every day. I believe the wisdom provided within this book is just enough to tune the mind to what is really important, and to prompt good questions, good conversation, and some serious reflection on what this role of parent and new spouse is really all about.

What the Essence of Wisdom for Parents really teaches, is that in the end, it is simple.

Calling Out Across the Parking Lot

The Parking LotIt is funny how we sometimes find ourselves on a path and it takes a bit of reflection to look back on our life to see how it is we got started on it.

I was fortunate in life in that about the time my wife and I married, I was associated with a number of great people who were willing to reach out and share with me what it takes to have a great marriage.

I recall vividly one warm summer evening, as I walked across a parking lot from a business meeting, being hailed down by a gentleman I had been working with, Dick, who was probably in his early seventies at the time.  He wanted to congratulate me on my recent marriage and then asked point blank:  “Do you two share a checkbook?”

I was a bit taken aback by the question but the truth was that both my wife and I worked and we each had our own bank accounts and had worked out an expense sharing arrangement for the bills.  Dick proceeded to take about thirty minutes of his time talking about the importance of trust and what cleaving together as a couple really means, and how keeping finances separated ends up inserting an emotional separation into the marriage.  I never found out why this issue was so important for Dick, my guess is that he came upon this bit of wisdom the hard way.

Shortly after Dick corned me, I sat down with my new wife and had a good conversation about how we wanted to manage our money going forward in life, and we have been sharing the checkbook ever since, which has been a great blessing in our lives.

Dick taught me a number of things that night.  First of course, about the importance of sharing the checkbook, he also got my mind thinking about the cleaving together thing, about how a husband and wife need to really bond together to become one.  But more importantly, Dick taught me that this kind of wisdom needs to be shared.  It’s not easy being married and its not easy to be a good parent.  In America today, many folks have had poor role models, or no role models at all in their lives that can serve as a guide.  For these people, their parenting and marriage instincts have no basis for success.  So it’s import to seek out this wisdom from folks that you respect but is is also important to call out across the parking lot to other young couples starting out on their journey and do a little sharing.

Over the course of my marriage, and as my family has grown, I’ve spent a lot of time seeking out this wisdom from as many people as possible and as I’ve grown I’m finding it’s time to start doing a little calling out across the parking lot myself.

Several years ago I put together a collection of some of the tips and tidbits of wisdom that I collected into a small booklet that I gave to several couples as a baby-shower gift –  a way of sharing and giving back what so many others had given to me.  

That booklet became the seed of Essence of Wisdom for Parents.  It’s been designed to make it easy for anyone to do a little calling out across the parking lot.  A way for you to share something special with people who are special to you.