Advice is funny. Sometimes? Sometimes it comes along when you aren’t even looking for it. Here’s the best advice I never gave.

the best advice

Just between us?

I have been known to climb up on a soapbox or two.

I can’t help it.

I have these four children and the best advice and sometimes without warning…

…it an opinion or two spills out.

I have soapboxes about manners.

And being kind.

And remembering to walk in someone else’s shoes.

And how essential reading is.

And the overwhelming importance of learning the difference between their, there and they’re.

But my favorite?

The soapbox that is ever on the ready?

The importance of choosing a really good boyfriend.

the best advice living room

The twins could recite this soapbox by heart.

It’s all about respecting yourself and knowing your value and choosing wisely when it comes to a boyfriend.

A boyfriend who opens the door for you and listens when you talk and takes you to a restaurant that doesn’t have a drive-thru and is nice to your family and respects you and goes to romantic movies if you want to….

….and who is generally wonderful.

Just like their dad.

the best advice blue and white pillows


Most of the time no one listens when I get on my soapbox.

They’ve heard it all before.

But lately? Lately, it’s been different.

We’ve been spending a lot of time together and somehow I’m getting smarter. Lately, I’ve had two pairs of big blue eyes hanging on my every word to hear my best advice.

In the middle of one of my soapbox lectures, one of the twins interrupted,  “Mom….umm…..excuse me…., Mom.”

I almost didn’t stop talking.

I was on a roll.


I was right in the middle of whether or not a boy should stand up when someone leaves the table at dinner and trying to decide if anyone even did that anymore and maybe that was setting the bar too high for the legions of future boyfriends.

“Mom,” she sighed. “I’m just going to worry about all this in the future when I choose my boyfriend.”

I stared at her sternly.

“You don’t ‘choose’ your boyfriends,” I said emphatically.

“You should let the boys call you.

And let the boys ask you out.

And meet your parents before they take you on a date,”  I said. And I heard the soapbox shiver as I stomped on it once more for good measure.

“Oh Mom,” she giggled.

“You are so funny.  I didn’t mean it like that. What I meant was—first I’m going to choose the boy I like……

…..and then I’m going to make him think it’s all his idea.”

Then she paused and grinned, blinked twice, and added “You know…..

…..”just like you did with Dad.”


And just like that, in the middle of a blue and white living room with the birds chirping and the sun shining…

….I could feel my soapbox kicked right out from under me.  🙂

PS I love you twinnels.

PPS I also try and teach them this, too.

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  1. Image for NormaJean NormaJean

    Looking at the "twinnels" (as you call them}, is like looking and seeing three of YOU!! Stay on that soapbox, Mom, you are doing a great job!!

  2. Image for Stacey Amaro Stacey Amaro

    I can definitely relate. I'm on my soapbox at least once a week with my teenage son on how to treat women. I'm trying to make sure he is all knowing before he leaves the nest. :)

  3. Image for Kathie Kathie

    Oh, the joys of being a parent! We want for them what we had or did not have and hope everything always turns out just the way they wanted and we wanted too! Is that even possible?

  4. Image for Colleen Colleen

    Good one! I was always curious about my son's girlfriends and he would get so frustrated when I would ask him questions about his latest girlfriend. Finally one day he said "mom, it's not like I'm going to marry her so when I do find someone I want to spend my life with I'll be sure to let you know". And he did and they have been happily married for almost 19 years!

  5. Image for Jennifer Jennifer

    Yes, yes, yes, yes! I love this and it reminds me that I need to give my 17-year-old son a refresher about choosing the right girlfriend. Hope you're well. Also, I love this photo of you three. Y'all match the living room. And your girls look just like you. So cute!!!

  6. Image for Marty Marty

    Love this. Raising my own children I remember all the soap boxes I stood on and still do sometimes even though they are adults. Most of all, it is amazing to see how they really did listen once upon a time and made some really great decisions.

  7. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    Oh, Miz karianne, I saw this one coming! The BEST and MOST LISTENED TO soapbox, is the one that is demonstrated day after day after day. And of course, a little verbal encouragement and pointed story-telling helps to drive the message home. You are doing a great job, Mom.

  8. Image for

    Love this! We call them mom's life lessons. We are on #4758. Always count to three at every stop light (I borrowed that one from my dad). Happy Monyay! Oh,total sidenot- my oldest son is headed to TN for a volunteership and he said there are a couple students from Texas colleges and they start every inter group text with "hey y'all."

  9. Image for Jill Brewster Jill Brewster

    And how do you answer that? LOL Looks like the apple didn't fall far from the tree. Enjoy this beautiful Texas Monday!

  10. Image for Lynne Lynne

    Such a great story, KariAnne. I can relate with a two young adults of my own. I feel like I am always on a soapbox...trying to give my best advice and take advantage of the teachable moments. And the great part I watch them grow, I do think they're listening.

  11. Image for Janet Janet

    I hardly ever comment because I’m in a rush to read all my emails and blogs but I have to tell you how much I enjoy all your posts. You are truly a gifted writer and I feel like you’re a friend of mine! Keep doing what you’re doing because so many of us you don’t always hear from smile, laugh, and are overjoyed all because of you.

  12. Image for Marlene Stephenson Marlene Stephenson

    That was so cute and smart, but that's a good thing, they are listening and noticing.You are a good mother and your teaching them well.

  13. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    BEST story ever, KA!!!! This is awesome! Just when you think you are "preaching to the walls" you know they're (heh) listening and learning and taking it all in! Well done, mom. Well done, indeed. BTW- believe it or not my hubs used to stand up whenever got up from the table or walked into a room. Somewhere along the way he stopped that. I loved it. I have a feeling it is because I am a high-strong energetic hummingbird woman who moves fast and gets up often, People need refills, right??? It was one of the things that hooked me from the moment I met him. We are very old souls who love the internet but really are much more Edwardian deep down. ♥ Raining again here - going to all day and night. I can practically hear the grass growing.

  14. Image for Shelly Shelly

    Karianne, Please tell me where the pillow in the second picture came from. It is the navy one with acanthus(?) leaves on it.

  15. Image for Betty King Betty King

    Having Godly standards and not worldly standards will pay off big time. Thank you for teaching your daughters and sons manners. It blesses me to see and hear them from my grandchildren. Legacy!


    KariAnne, what a special Mom you are to your two precious gals! Such great advice! That picture of the three of you with Buddy is so cute! Have a great week -- and don't be afraid to get on your soapbox every now and then! Blessings!

  17. Image for Martha Berlin Martha Berlin

    Love the soapbox sessions with your girls about picking out the right boyfriend! It reminded me how I picked out my husband when I was a junior in high school. When someone asks me how did your relationship get started, I say, "I chased him until he caught me." We married when I was a freshman at college and have been married now more than 58 years. Another bit of sage advice came from a Sunday school teacher who said, "Every date is a potential mate." I would not date boys who were not of my faith and beliefs. I totally enjoy this site and love all that you do, KariAnne! Keep up the good work.

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