How many times have you read something written by an expert and thought: Oh, he's an expert. What does he know? He's not here in the trenches with me.
Yet, we seem to be a generation of parents hooked on experts. The bookstores are loaded with their books. Magazines feature their words of wisdom. Web sites and radio call-in shows enable you to directly ask them questions.
It's understandable. We don't live in a traditional culture anymore when child-rearing do's and don'ts were passed on from Grandma to Mom to us. Things have changed so much since Grandma's and even Mom's time that we often feel their advice is antiquated and ill-suited to today's generation of children.
I'm not knocking experts. In fact, some of my favorite people are experts (and some of my favorite experts are right here on this site.) What I'm interested in is our ability - or inability -- to make use of their advice. How many of us can read something by an expert, internalize it, use it and have it work? Cary Jacoby talks about her difficulty following expert advice and reviews a book that finally did help her in Everyday Blessings in our new Expert-itis section. Parent educator Shoshana Hayman answers one mom who complains: I Can't Apply All that Good Parenting Advice!
I wonder if our reliance on experts dulls our most precious teacher when it comes to child-rearing: our intuition. Shoshana Hayman suggests ways to incorporate our intuition with expert advice in You Are the Expert.
Copyright Ruth Mason, 2000