Don't be a punk

I’m teaching a class at a family retreat this weekend in Alabama. I’ve been asked to talk about vision and mothering—which is pretty crazy because I’ll probably have the least experience mothering of anyone in the room. I’m thinking right now about how to demonstrate my humility.

Because I’m young, I’m often asked to speak on stuff that I have very little experience doing—being a wife, parenting, etc. Usually this freaks me out a little. For one, I know that my audience is better prepared than I am capable of being. For another, I suspect they’re thinking, “You little punk…” in the backs of their heads.

My goal is to make it clear from the beginning that I’m only trying to help them think about the topic from a different angle, to reinforce things they already believe, or to encourage them as they labor in the trenches. I never expect that I’ve got it nailed, because I spent a few hours studying. I realize that good parenting and good living require wisdom. And wisdom plays hard to get.

Sometimes I hear college kids preach and tear into the audience, laying it down to seventy and eighty year-olds. They speak from a posture of authority but that doesn’t work so well since they have none. As an audience member, my normal reaction is to giggle.

If, however, they acknowledge their limitations and speak humbly—well, that’s different. I can listen to and learn from that.

So that’s what I’m going for: humility. Never a bad pursuit.