Too Many Experts

Photo by Wes Hicks

I was speaking with a co-worker of mine the other day. She has a young boy who is nearly two and a girl on the way, so we often talk about child rearing. The first time she was pregnant she had such a great intention to provide everything for her son “the right way.” I admired her desire, and obvious love for the child (which began before she had ever met him).

Her second pregnancy however has been different. She confessed to me that the first pregnancy she was so concerned that she would do it wrong it was nearly a problem. Then of course there were the times when things did go wrong, and with that came concern and worry that something was going to be ruined.

I related to her, that day, in many ways because the first time you do anything there is an extreme desire to do it “right,” especially when its something that you love, or are excited about (pregnancy usually fits that category exactly).

So many new parents read books, blogs, and community pages and are often concerned about development at the “right time,” and after the child is born then they stress that the child is developing at on the schedule the ‘experts’ say they should.  There are books on how to make babies sleep (don’t get me started on the facedown/faceup controversy), how to hold them to stop them from crying, whether they should be on a strick schedule or not, whether or not they should sleep with you, whether they should learn to fall asleep in the car, whether… whether… … until you’re weathered!

During the conversation with my friend something came to mind that I think we can all benefit from:

These days,

THERE ARE TOO MANY EXPERTS.
Photo by Rita Morais

Child rearing is the prime example, but it does spread to all aspects of life (think about the diet ‘industry’). You can find an “expert” nowadays that will tell you just about anything.  But there is a truth that is so true no one wants to say it.  Life does not have a cookie cutter fix.

Gone seem to be the days of finding a mentor, who knows you, that you trust in a given field of life and that you relying on their sage advice to lead you safely through.  I want to encourage you it doesn’t have to be that way. The honest answer from the eyes of a person you trust will always outweigh a book or a blog. But perhaps most importantly in the reality of this ‘sea of experts’ is that, when it comes to child rearing…

PEOPLE HAVE BEEN DOING IT FOR CENTURIES!

…and centuries before the experts ever wrote their books, or blogs. If you care for your child and you are paying attention, then you know your child as well, if not better than anyone else (since you are reading this I pretty sure you do).  Do you love your child? Are you doing everything you can to provide a loving environment and upbringing for them? Then I’m pretty sure you’re going to be o.k. The minutia of beds, baths, and beyond (:))are not the life changing choices they may seem to be at the time.

So don’t let the way it “should” be done according to “John Smith” stress you out. If you try to be the best father you can be, you are miles ahead.

I know it’s a bit counter-intuitive to disparage book writers and bloggers on my blog, but the intention here is simply to set into perspective the reasonable use of tools such as this blog and website… and in all honesty the purpose of this ministry is to give tools, and expression, to the dads that already do care.

At the end of the day, the definition of an expert has to do with performing that craft for 10,000 hours. In that perspective you could call me an expert, but don’t be afraid to disagree with experts – especially when it comes to parenting YOUR child. Personalities are different, and you know your kids better than anyone. There are many times that the experts with disagree, and yet both be right.

So, be encouraged! You can do this Dad thing! Just try. You are a hero! You are the Man!

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