My mom has always been sort of a "baby whisperer." She has a way about her that comforts a fussy baby or an antsy toddler. I wish I'd written down all the little nuggets of advice she dispensed while my kids were smaller.
Disclaimer: I know that parenting styles differ. A lot. And there's more than one way to raise a child.
One piece of my mom's advice stood out. When my first son was little, and I didn't want him to do something, I'd tell him no. He'd try to do it again, and my mom reminded me to remind him again. After several reminders, I was frustrated and asked my mom, "How many times do I need to teach him?"
Her answer? "Until he gets it."
Stay strong, be firm but gentle, and don't give in. Choosing our battles comes into play here, too, but that's another subject.
"Until he gets it." That little piece of gold has helped me through all stages of parenthood, even as we're deep in the teen years. How many times did I teach which letters made which sounds? Until he got it. How many times did I teach him to be a good friend, even when others weren't? Until he got it.
That same piece of advice could be helpful for writers.
- How often should we learn about plot? Until we get it.
- How often should we learn about character? Until we get it.
- How often should we write new material? Until we get it.
- How often should we refill our creative wells? Until we get it.
- How long should we pursue our publishing goals? Until we reach them.
And when we finally "get it?" We keep going, because there's always something to learn, and many ways to improve.
What's your opinion of the "until he gets it" advice? If you're a parent, what's the most valuable piece of advice you received? As a writer, what's the best piece of advice someone gave you?