Advice for Travelling the Road of Life

As I was going through files on my computer, I found a list I wrote five years ago for a friend. She was a mother going to college, something I had been through a few years earlier. For one of her classes she was supposed to choose a mentor, who would share their "advice to live by." My friend chose me as her mentor, and this is the advice I wrote for her for travelling down the road of life. Reading it five years later, I found it was pretty good advice for me from my past self.

1.  Have a well thought out set of priorities, and live your life by them
                Think about what matters most to you and what you want to get out of life. You can’t do everything, so decide what matters most, next most, next most, etc. and on to what doesn’t matter at all. Then make sure the choices you make in how you spend your time reflect your priorities. A couple of things to keep in mind:
                A.  Just because something is highest on your priority list doesn’t mean you will spend the most time on it.  It just means that you need to make sure you aren’t neglecting it for something that is of lower priority. For example, I will assume that maintaining a close relationship with God is a higher priority for you than housework, but reading your scriptures and saying your prayers each day probably takes less time than cleaning your house does—unless your boys are unusually tidy. That’s okay as long as you don’t neglect scriptures and prayers in order to clean out the garage.
                B.  Everything on your priority list deserves some of your time. If it was important enough to you to be put on the list to begin with, you need to take some time for it.
                C. Your list needs to be revisited and possibly revised as you go through life. Your highest priorities (I am assuming they are God and your family) will probably stay the same, but your other priorities may change from one season of your life to another. Right now homework is probably a pretty big priority in your life, but in a few years it won’t be one at all.

2.  Put people ahead of things and tasks
                Society says women shouldn’t define themselves by their relationships with other people, but in the end, our relationships are what matter most. Things aren’t very important and tasks will usually wait for you, but a child who needs a listening ear or a neighbor who needs to know someone cares needs to be taken care of now. If you choose not to meet those needs, someone else may step in and do so, but you will have missed out on the opportunity to strengthen your relationships. 

3. Do not underestimate the importance of your role as a mother
                The longer I’ve lived the more I’ve come to see the powerful influence mothers have on their children—either for good or bad. You cannot escape it. Once you have children, you WILL have a profound influence on their lives. Mothering is the most important work you will ever do. That is not a cliché, it is a reality.

4.  Keep your relationship with your husband strong
                My dad had a sign on his desk that said, “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” The key relationship in a family is the marriage relationship. Keeping it strong maintains a strong foundation for your family. So have date night every week. Consider the money you spend on babysitters as an investment. Take the time to remember why you fell in love in the first place.

5.  Read books and watch movies that make you laugh—life will give you enough reasons to cry.
                Enough said.

6. Trust God
                I put this last, but it is probably most important. God loves us and knows us better than we know ourselves. He can see the end from the beginning, and He knows what lessons we need to learn in life. My favorite joke is:
                Q:  How do you make God laugh?
                A:  Tell Him your plans.

                God’s plans for your life may be different from yours. However, I’ve learned that if we’re just sitting around waiting for God to tell us what to do, we won’t get very far. We have to be trying to move forward, then God can steer us to where He wants us to go. So go ahead and set goals and work for them, but be prepared for changes in direction. When they come, trust that God knows where He is taking you and that it really will be what is best for you in the long run.

So there you have it, my advice to live by. If you want an interesting exercise, take time to come up with your own "advice to live by" list. And if you're willing to share, I'd love to read yours. You just might inspire me to add to my list as well.


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