Wednesday, May 28, 2014

9 Obvious Signs You're Wise Enough to Give Advice

Big days on the horizon for my little family.   Darling Daughter will be graduating from homeschool high school in 12 days.   I bought the frame for her diploma today, along with some crafty fixings so her party guests can leave her some Words of Advice. (see PS at bottom for more on this)

As is my usual modus operandi I came up with this Words of Advice idea while wandering around in one of my favorite craft stores.   And while this idea was percolating in my brain, I got kind of teary-eyed, to think of my darling daughter who just yesterday (it seems) was being born and toddling at my feet.  

I've been giving her advice ever since she was born actually, so graduation advice is really just a continuation of what we've been doing all along.  But still, it seems monumental in one of those awed, hushed-tones sorts of ways.   We should have some succinct, important things to pass along to her.

But what?  

Well.   God has a way of working out things just perfectly.  I came home from my little jaunt to the store, and finished (hahahh!) sorting the various piles and files I've been working on for the past week or so.   And nestled in the LAST PILE (of course!), what appeared to my wandering eyes?  

Peacock book-box, cardstock paper, stickers & words of advice

A pink piece of paper in an old ratty and stained page protector--this used to hang on our fridge back when the kids were little.   It's a list of the Fruits of the Spirit--that neat list St. Paul wrote in chapter 5 to the Galatians.  

"...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."Galatians 5:22 & 23 NIV

As is my mom-ish way of doing things, the kids and I had done a word-study on the list and come up with our own definitions for each of those spiritual fruits.

It occurred to me today--while going through this stack of filing--that these spiritual qualities and our old homeschool definitions make a perfect "Advice to the Graduate" list.  

Advice for a Graduate

God always gives the best advice!  
The Bible is His book, and it's chock-ful of excellent wisdom.

When you have time, read the Old Testament book of Proverbs.
There are 31 chapters (one for every day of the month!) 
outlining wisdom and foolishness, rules for marriage,
raising children, getting along with your neighbors & enemies,
and even treating your animals properly.

Likewise, the New Testament has loads of sage wisdom
from Jesus himself and from the apostles.
Of course, as Christians, we want to follow all this guidance
because we want to live our lives to God's glory.

In fact, there are several spots where we're told that a
Christian will produce fruit in keeping with principles God has outlined throughout His Book.   

The New Testament book of Galatians specifically outlines a 
short-list of spiritual qualities we all should strive to achieve.

Some years ago, my three children & I attempted to define these nine qualities.
Here's what we came up with:

  • a very glad feeling, happiness, great pleasure, delight
  • anything causing such feeling or the expression of showing such feeling

  • deep and tender feelings of affection or attachment
  • devotion to a person, an expression of one's affection or feeling of brotherhood and goodwill
  • strong liking or interest or passionate affection for another

  • freedom from war, treaty or agreement to end war or threat of war
  • freedom from public disturbance or disorder, public security, law & order
  • freedom from disagreement or quarrels, absence of mental conflict
  • harmony, concord, undisturbed state of mind, serenity

  • the state, quality or fact of being patient
  • the will or ability to wait or endure without complaint
  • steadiness, endurance, perseverance in performing a task
  • bearing or enduring pain or trouble without losing self-control
  • refusing to be angered as by an insult 
  • calmly tolerating delay or confustion or inefficiency
  • waiting calmly for something desired
  • steady, diligent

  • the state, quality or habit of being kind
  • kindly treatment, feelings, affection & goodwill
  • sympathetic, gentle, friendly, tender-hearted
  • generous, cordial, loving affectionate

  • the state or quality of being virtuous
  • excellence, kindness, generous, benevolent
  • the best part, essence or valuable element of a thing
  • suitable to a purpose, fresh, unspoiled
  • virtuous, honest

  • refined, courteous
  • noble, chivalrous, generous, kind
  • easily handled, kindly
  • sincere, patient, pleasant

  • maintaining allegiance, constancy, loyalty
  • marked by or showing a strong sense of duty or responsibility
  • conscientious, steadfast adherence

  • control of one's self or one's own emotions, desires & actions
  • ability to set aside one's own needs
  • restraint
  • making disciplined choices

These nine spiritual qualities stack up neatly and build upon one another.  
They work best when they are working together.  
And if you stop to think about each of these "fruits" you'll see that
they don't all grow at the same rate!   In some cases, a fruit will
grow easily, while another needs careful pruning to reach full ripeness.

It takes a lifetime for these "fruits" to develop.
Some only develop under stressful circumstances.
Others depend on the development of other fruits, first.

Keep going.  
Prune, water, fertilize, nourish, grow.
St. Paul, the writer of this list, goes on to say

"Let us not become weary in doing good, 
for at the proper time we will reap 
a harvest if we do not give up.  
Therefore, as we have opportunity, 
let us do good to all people."
Galatians 6:9-10 NIV

Keep growing!

P.S. Here's my idea for guests giving Words of Advice to the graduate:
purchase a book box (looks like a fancy-schmancy book, but it's hollow)
and some card-stock paper and stickers.

Before the party, cut the paper so that it will fit inside the box.
Provide a pen or marker, stickers and rubber stamps & ink pads.
(I'm going to set out some little alphabet stamps, too.)

At party time, ask guests to write some 
Words of Advice or Encouragement to the graduate.
Urge them to jazz up their little "card" and personalize it.   

The cards go into the hollowed out book-box,
and then the box is tucked into the grad's College Stuff.

Once she's settled in her dorm room, she will have these
lovely sentiments in a handy-dandy, portable, easily-stored and cute container.
When homesickness hits (missing Mom's cooking 
or Dad's silly Dad-jokes)
or missing the home-routine or hanging with "old" friends,
our Darling Daughter can open the book-box and 
fondly remember and be encouraged.

You might also like this post about loyalty, or this one about faithfulness,
 or this one about living (yes, I said LIVING) advice in your marriage.

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