Recently, a friend asked my opinion on a controversial parenting topic. It took me a second, but I realized I didn’t have an opinion. This might seem normal for you, but I’m sure my friend was a little surprised that I didn’t subscribe to one view or the other. She has the right to be. Historically I’ve dealt in opinions more or less as a hobby. I’ll admit that I’ve enjoyed jumping on my soap box a time or two or three. But I’m learning there are a few things more valuable than sharing your opinion.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about sharing the fact that Jesus died for our sins. I’m not suggesting that we water down the Bible, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever have an opinion. I am proposing that we stop having excessively vehement opinions for other families.Stop having excessively vehement opinions on issues for other families. – Angela Howard Click To Tweet
The decisions we are presented with on a day to day basis are seemingly endless and somewhat overwhelming.
Should I choose public school, homeschool, or private school for my kids?
Should I eat only organic food?
Should I use formula or breastfeed?
How many after-school activities should my child be involved in?
Should my teen date? If so, at what age, and with what restrictions?
What Bible version should I read?
Should I let my kids have sugar? Or dyes? Or gluten?
Should I work outside the home, from home, or be a stay at home parent?
How much should I volunteer in church or in my community?
OpinionsI’m convinced that we can use our influence for something more than touting our opinions. –Angela Howard Click To Tweet
I’m convinced that we can use our influence for something more than touting our opinions. As friends, as family, and as a community we can offer something much more appreciated than our viewpoints. We can remember that we are dealing with individuals not just issues. It’s time to stop trading in opinions and start valuing peopleStop trading in opinions and start valuing people. – Angela Howard Click To Tweet
5 Things More Valuable Than Sharing Our Opinions
Listening: It’s easy to go into a conversation with preconceived ideas and even easier to tune someone out if we don’t like what we’re hearing. But what if our communication could be better? What if we went into the conversation with an open heart and truly listened without feeling like we needed to solve, fix, or advise?
Asking Good Questions: Here are a few of my favorite…
- Can you tell me more about that?
- If you could do anything, what would you do?
- What seems to be the biggest obstacle?
- What are your other options?
- How long have you been thinking about this?
- What would make the biggest difference in this circumstance?
Offering Our Empathy: Empathy is often used as a synonym with sympathy, but there’s an important distinction. In offering empathy you don’t have to agree with or have experienced the same feelings. What you do is appreciate how their feelings and experience are affecting their decisions and impacting their particular needs. Empathy is not agreement but compassionate understanding.Empathy is not agreement but compassionate understanding. – Angela Howard Click To Tweet
Sharing Our Experiences: There are times when our friends and family want our opinion or insight, but the best way to start is to ask, “Are you just sharing or can I offer some of my thoughts or experience?” It could be they’re coming to you because of your background and would love your perspective, but don’t assume. It’s fine to share experiences, just don’t share them with the assumption that they will mirror the decision of the person you’re sharing them with.
Love: The bottom line is that people need our love more than they need our opinions. They need the kind of love that Christ offers to each one of us, a love that cost something. Maybe that cost is simply holding our tongues and reserving our judgement.
What would you add to the list above? Comment below!
Can I ask you a quick favor? If today’s post has impacted you would you share it on your social media sites? When you do, it helps me get my blog in front of more wonderful people just like you! I’d be very grateful.
For Further Reading…
Thank you to Life Church 360 for the pleasure of serving them this weekend at their leadership retreat. God has great things in store for your team!