David Trinko: Learning to follow your own advice

First Posted: 1/4/2014

I keep hearing the nagging voice of a parent in my head. Turns out, it’s my own voice.

I realized this Friday as I prepared to head out into the bitter cold to go somewhere. I grabbed my coat and started to head to the car, like so many adults do.

Then I heard it.

“Put on your hat and gloves,” the voice said. “It’s really cold out there.”

That voice from my past echoed through the room. Apparently it lingered there from that same morning, when I uttered those exact words to my daughters as they waited for the bus.

I’m starting to think all the advice I’m giving my children seems to be paying dividends in my own life.

I make sure I have a fruit and a vegetable with my dinner each night, something a so-called adult version of me 15 years ago wouldn’t have tried. You’d better believe I’m clearing my plate too.

We keep reminding our daughters to close the door to the bathroom when they’re using the facilities. Now I notice myself closing the door to my bedroom and the master bath, even when I’m home alone.

There’s some hygiene too. When you’re constantly reminding little ones to wash their hands before a meal or after coming in from outside, it’s that much easier to stop by the sink yourself.

Same thing with the proper way to brush your teeth. Anyone can slather some toothpaste on a toothbrush and let it skim over your teeth. Good form takes practice, something I find myself focusing upon much more when cleaning my own choppers.

We often tell our children that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Now no matter how behind I might be in the morning, I remember some cereal or a fruit bar to get my day going in the right direction.

As parents, we have a tendency to give great advice but not heed it ourselves.We fall back on “do as I say, not as I do” far too often. I’m getting better, but there’s still room for improvement.

My middle daughter asked some insightful questions about praying at church recently. She knew when we should pray but wanted to know what she should pray about during those times. I suggested she think about what she’s done wrong and what makes her thankful. As soon as I said it, the nature of my own prayers intensified well beyond the same generic guidelines I’d fallen back on for years.

Similarly, I spend so much time preaching the importance of forgiveness to my little ones but so little time actually forgiving others.

I’ve put off working on procrastinating for far too long. We keep reminding our girls the importance of getting work done so they can move on to the fun stuff, yet my least favorite chores still get done at the last minute.

We can all benefit for a little more patience, too. The best things come to those who wait.

I’m fortunate to have all that good advice rattling around in my head. Someday I’ll be as wise as my children and actually start following it.

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