Category Archives: Tricia Goyer’s Generation Next Parenting Articles

Tricia Goyer: Real Life Q & A


Advice is like snow;

the softer it falls,

the longer it dwells upon,

and deeper it sinks into the mind.

-Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I don’t know about you, but I like reading advice columns. I especially like the ones in the morning paper that deal with everything from “handling a cranky mother-in-law” to “telling someone they have stinky feet.” Sometimes I don’t agree with the advice given, but most of the time I do.

Do you ever wish you had a direct line to an advice columnist? I have a problem . . . can you help . . .

My baby won’t sleep in her own bed.

My husband won’t pick up his socks.

My parents still want to rule my life.

Then, when you opened the next morning’s paper, the perfect answer would be there?

Thankfully, God has placed people all around us who can offer good advice. Sometimes the advice is given without us asking. (Okay, many times!) In other instances, we seek people out. The key is knowing who to listen to . . . and when. Below are tips to help you do just that!

A, B, C’s of Getting Good Advice

A-sk away: It’s okay to ask for advice. No one knows it all!

B-e proctive: Remember, what you do (or don’t do) is your responsibility. It’s up to you to take the initiative and to make good choices. And remember, not making a decision is actually a choice too.

C-onsider your options: God brings people into our lives to help. Look around and consider: Who has God brought into my life to help me find the answer to this problem?

D-ecide who could offer the best help: Seek out different people for your various life issues. There are educational counselors, financial counselors, family counselors, employment counselors, legal counselors, and others, who are experts at what they do. Ask around and you can usually find help for free.

E-liminate extremes. Here are two: 1) being too independent, or 2) expecting someone else to be your complete authority. The only Person we should follow 100% of the time is God.

F-ollow God’s Word. The Bible provides great counsel. Check out the book of Proverbs. It’s a collection of good advice. Also skim through the last quarter of the Bible to find more good ideas.

G-ive special attention to those in authority over you. This includes employers, older adults, employers, and church or group leaders.

H-ope for success. One of the worst things we can do is let things slide instead of dealing with them. Put your hope in the fact that things can get better. Having this mindset will make all the difference in finding a successful solution.

I-nvite the input of several counselors for bigger decisions. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

J-udge whether your issue is a matter of right or wrong. Is it a moral decision or a personal preference? Always strive for “right.”

K-eep yourself from asking advice from only those who agree with you. Listen and weigh other opinions, especially ideas from others who have faced some of the same life experiences.

L-isten to your heart. Novelist Erica Jong says, “Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.” Deep down do you already know the answer? Go with that.

M-ake sure you seek help from people who adequately know you and your situation. In most cases, it’s better to give more weight to the person who’s supported you for ten years, in comparison to someone you met last weekend.

N-ever rush into a decision you’re not comfortable with. Give yourself time to sift through all the advice and weigh your options.

O-pen your heart to God. God is the best counselor of all. He speaks through Scripture and through His Spirit’s inner voice. When it comes to seeking advice, go to God in prayer first.

P-ay attention. Does the person offering advice follow it herself? Does it work?

Q-uestion how your decision will effect your future. Ask youself, “Five years from now, how will I view this decision? What decision will I be most happy with at that time?”

R-equire mature advisors. Your kid brother or a crazy friend from college might not be the best choices to turn to for help!

S-eek advice from someone you’d like to imitate. Baby birds learn to fly by imitating their mothers. We can choose whom to imitate-and if choose the right people, we will soar!

T-rust the advice of those who strive to follow God. Christians won’t always have all the right answers, but they often seek God who does.

U-se common sense. Don’t ask for advice when your common sense provides an adequate answer.

V-isualize the outcome. What are the pros of someone’s answer? What are the cons?

W-eigh your motives. What’s the deeper issue?

X-pect that not everyone who gives you advice will agree. Different people have different opinions. It’s up to you to choose the best one.

Y-ield to “good enough.” You may not find the perfect solution right away, but work on a solution that’s “good enough” while you continue to search.

Z-zzzzz Zzzzz. Sleep on it. Your problems always seem bigger and more overwhelming when you’re tired. A good night’s sleep does a world of wonders!

© Tricia Goyer

By Tricia Goyer, author of Generation NeXt Parenting

Check out Tricia’s blogs for more

Also…Generation NeXt Marriage: The Couples Guide to Keeping it Together is out NOW!

Dreams and Goals

By Tricia Goyer, author of Generation NeXt Parenting

Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. (Ephesians 1:9)

Through the years of seeking my own goals and dreams-for myself, my career and my family-I’ve discovered one more thing. God wants us to be obedient to the purposes He has for us, no matter what stage of life we’re in. Even the parenting stage.

The question is, whose dream are you sweating over? Yours or God’s? If we are chasing only our own dreams we will be frustrated. But, if we are chasing the dreams that God has planned for us, we will find more than we ever thought possible. The choice seems clear to me — clear, but not always easy to follow.

So how can you know you’re on the right track? What dreams should we follow? As children of God who are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” God has granted us unique gifts for the benefit of His kingdom. The important words here are “for the benefit of His Kingdom”. God gives us the dreams of our hearts; it is up to us to obediently pursue those dreams to the glory of God, not the glory of man. There is no better way for your children to learn about their gifts than by seeing us fulfill ours — through the grace and strength found in God alone.

So don’t be afraid to seek God concerning His dreams, not only for yourself as a mother, but also as a child of the Most High. Trust that His dreams for you are immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine!

Verses to narrow your focus:

John 6:38

Philippians 1:6

Ephesians 1:9

Ephesians 3:20

Ephesians 5:17-18

Psalm 84:10

© Tricia Goyer

A Memory In The Making


You don’t have to be a perfect parent to have a perfectly great time!

STOP. REWIND. Let’s try this one again, I thought, only wishing it were possible. My idea for creating a wonderful memory wasn’t turning out as planned. The fun cookie-bake I had imagined was ending with dough-covered children and a goo-smeared dining room carpet. “Just go clean up, and I’ll finish the rest,” I told the kids, frustrated with the mess.


“But . . .” the chorus of three responded. “This is fun!”


Fun? Bickering over cookie cutters and dough territory is fun?


My mind flashed to a haloed image of happy children singing Christmas Carols as they cut and sprinkled cookies. My kids weren’t following my ideal, but a memory was in the making all the same. I was left with only one alternative: making the most of the sticky situation. I had to lick the dough off my fingers and put my best (flour-sprinkled) foot forward. Here are five strategies that worked for me:


Check Your Attitude

Though usually not a parent’s first response to a family fiasco, gratitude is essential. Once I stopped long enough to find something good about my situation, I didn’t feel quite as sorry for myself. After all, I was spending time with my kids. And they did look kind of cute covered in cookie dough.


We can show our children we are thankful for the opportunity to be with them-even if things aren’t going according to plan. Brainstorm with your children and discover ways to make the event more enjoyable for everyone.


After talking with my kids, we decided we just needed to get organized. The children divided the remaining cookie dough into three sections then took turns rolling and cutting out the cookies. They each had one-on-one time with me (which made them happy), and the dining room survived intact (which made me happy).


Create the Atmosphere

When gauging the atmosphere of your time together, look at it through your children’s eyes. Ask yourself, “Is this the memory I want to give them?” If it isn’t, change it.


I decided I wanted to be remembered as a fun mom, not a grouch. Since the kids were already having fun, I was the one in need of an attitude adjustment. Amazingly, the atmosphere immediately took a turn for the better after that.


Bend Over Backwards

I’ve heard it said, “Rigid people are brittle and break easily.” It’s a catchy phrase, but being flexible takes a lot more bending then most parents, including me, enjoy. The first exercise in flexibility is turning that frown into a smile, or better yet, turning that sigh into laughter. In his book, ­Hugs for Moms, John William Smith says, “Who can remedy a deplorable situation? What weaponry will you use to stop this rushing wall of tension that threatens all of mankind? Laughter. You find the humor in the moment, and you laugh.”


The second exercise in flexibility is stepping out of your comfort zone. I often have to remind myself that life doesn’t fall apart if things don’t turn out the way we’ve planned. By throwing away the agenda, parents are free to go with the flow and even follow their children’s lead. As a result, I’ve discovered even odd-shaped cookies taste great.


Adapt Your Expectations

Sometimes the only problem with memory-making is the parent’s expectations. Make sure yours approximate reality and then focus on what your children are doing right. I found rolling up my sleeves and getting busy offering help and encouragement was exactly what was needed. My hands were covered with dough, but the situation was much less sticky from then on.


My unfulfilled expectations weren’t nearly as disheartening when I took time to focus on my children’s delight. No amount of perfectly baked cookies could ever replace that.


Shape Future Smiles

In her book, The Family Manager, Kathy Peels says, “Memories. We talk about them as though we have a choice of whether or not to make them. We act as if circumstances of life are like disappearing ink-only there for a moment. We forget our children’s minds are like computer disks-constantly recording information. Who’s to know which memories will be erased and which will be indelibly etched in their minds?”


Our days our filled with events that will be forever remembered. The question is, will they also be forever cherished? I hope to look back someday at all the family flops with a smile or even a laugh-recalling those moments when fiascoes were turned into fun memories. I wonder what type of memories will cling to my children? Hopefully one memory will be of their mother’s dough-covered, flour-splattered smile.


Remember When . . .

To get an idea of what things mean the most to your children, think about some of your own favorite memories.


1.      What was your favorite pastime as a child?

2.      Think about one special memory about each of your siblings.

3.      What was your favorite meal?

4.      What were some of the most memorable books you read?

5.      Think of one particularly memorable event.

6.      What scent or sound immediately takes you back to childhood?

7.      What meaningful advice did you receive from an adult?

8.      Think about someone who influenced your life profoundly.

9.      Think about your proudest moment.


Now share these memories with your child. Then ask him to do the same. Your memory exchange will be unforgettable!

© Tricia Goyer

By Tricia Goyer, author of Generation NeXt Parenting

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