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Be aware of babblers

January 14, 2008

by Kristen Miller

There is a reason my column is called “On My Mind” – I am usually not shy of sharing what is on my mind. Sometimes, depending on the subject and the person, my words and my bluntness can be offensive.

Many times, I will offer advice to friends and family members when it isn’t asked of me. I have to be careful of this (it’s one of my New Year’s goals).

Recently, I visited a close friend of mine who just had her first baby. Of course, like any new mom, she is getting suggestions and advice (more than she wants, I’m sure) from everyone.

During our visit, the topic of pacifiers came up. She was wondering how long a baby can suck on one before it is unhealthy.

I, not being a mother, (but I figure an aunt of five holds some water) blurted out “2.”

How quick I am to offer advice.

Now, I may not know much about this topic, but I do know I don’t want my son or daughter sucking on a pacifier when they are 4 years old.

Giving advice can be a touchy subject. Sometimes suggestions or advice are appreciated, other times, if is not welcomed, it can be offensive.

A person may begin to feel inadequate or that they are doing it all wrong, when they are just doing it differently.

Just because someone has an opinion about something doesn’t mean it’s the right answer.

In all actuality, what can be right for one person, can be a disaster for another.

Back to my example of motherhood, many times, a new mother will have to figure things out as she goes. Every baby is different, as is every mother.

Not too long after our visit, I attended my weekly Bible study.

Interestingly enough, the apostle Paul, while spreading the word of the resurrection of Jesus in Athens, was called a “babbler.”

According to Webster’s dictionary, the word “babbler” means to utter meaningless words.

Although Christians now know that Paul was no such babbler, at the time, he was thought of as talking nonsense.

Jeff Cavins, the leader of the Bible study, informed the class of other known babblers.

For example, Barbara De Angelis, a woman author and motivational speaker who claims to be a relationship expert.

Cavins informed us De Angelis is now on her fifth marriage (not to mention she received a Ph D from Columbia Pacific University, which was shut down for giving false degrees).

Some would say she knows nothing about how to make love work, or maybe it just took her five marriages to figure this out.

Either way, how could you take advice from such a babbler – a person who claims he or she knows everything and makes sure you know it?

Self-help books are quite popular, but how legitimate are they?

Many people look to these books to make them happier, more in love, and even rich.

Sometimes, these books can be the answer to someone’s desperate prayers, while other times, they are just a waste of time and money (which I’m sure the authors appreciate).

It’s so easy for a person to be a babbler and claim to have all the answers in the world. But as I mentioned earlier, everyone is different and what can work for one person, might not work for another.

So my advice is be careful giving it, and receiving it.