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

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 even though they think they are grown—in my opinion they still need my advice.

I just start talking and sometimes without warning…

…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 (especially lately with all these college dates)?

It’s all about THIS.

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 treats you well.

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.

They are home for the summer with freshman year behind them and somewhere along the way I started 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 Nana Nana

    In this day and age you are blessed to have them listen at all - keep protecting and hugging them - so precious and well loved!

  2. Image for Susan Susan

    As the mother of 4 girls let me just say, you've got your work cut out for you! So far I've married off 2 of them to wonderful and respectful men. Two down, two to go! Hoping the lessons we try to teach will stick with them for a lifetime!

  3. Image for Cindy Cindy

    Loved this story. It reminded me of my mom. The first date with my husband, he came inside to get me and to meet my parents. Opened the car door for me. Listened to my horrible singing on the way to the restaurant. Opened the car again and the restaurant entrance. Asked me what I was going to have and ordered for me. Walked me to the door to let me in the house. The next day, I said mom now I know why you said these things. He's the one. Abd he does this to this day

  4. Image for Diana Diana

    KariAnne I loved this. It made me laugh and reminded me of my inability to keep my opinion to myself as far as my children are concerned. It is obvious that your girls listen to you and appreciate your opinions. It sounds like they have absorbed your advice whether they know it or not. You got this parenting thing girl!

  5. Image for Teddee Grace Teddee Grace

    You...and they...are so lucky that you communicate! My parents inferred, but left so many things unsaid, which left me socially without a clue. You seem to be doing a wonderful job of parenting...and based on that, I'm assuming your parents did too.

  6. Image for Marlene Marlene

    Sometimes we as parents wonder if we have truly told them all they need to know but, we try. I thank it's wonderful to find out that they have listened. You and your husband are good parents I can tell by the love you show them. Have a great day.

  7. Image for Brenda V Brenda V

    What a sweet conversation to share with us. Can I ask where you got the pillow covers from the striped chairs? I've never seen them listed when you share that information. They're one of my favorites.

  8. Image for Cara Cara

    They are hard to find, but when you find them, you know... you just know. I think my husband was first one who actually had manners and despite the waiting for the right person, I finally found him when I was 35! Yikes! We had actually known each other since the 7th grade, but sometimes life circumstances align and then you meet again. Neither of us had been married before, nor had children, but thankfully we reconnected. So you tell them to hold out for the right person to marry, even if you are 35 when it happens. It just makes you more thankful for that person when it finally happens. Glad they listen to your advice, sometimes we need the guidance of our mother's to help things along too.

  9. Image for laura nuss laura nuss

    The irony is you didn’t need the soapbox - your girls ( and boys) have watched their parents love and argue and compromise and cry and pray and doubt and repeat all of the above. They were learning along the way what time of man they deserve and the type of woman they will become ( minus the aquanet ). Proud to call you friend!

  10. Image for Cindy@CountyRoad407 Cindy@CountyRoad407

    LOL, sounds like they've been listening! To our three kids I've been giving mate advice too. Sneaking it in here and there verses a soapbox even though I have several attempts with that as well. The number one rule in relationship advice from me... They must know the Lord, love the Lord and put Him first - even above you. I always get a good peer with that one. Y'all are so adorable. Wishing you a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.

  11. Image for R Newton R Newton

    Sweet , loved your little story this morning. I received a lot of those too and it made an imprint on me and what I looked for in a boy who showed interest in me. I'm a widow now and still look for those qualities. I recently met someone very special and he certainly has those very qualities. Hard to find in these days and times.

  12. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    They were listening. Young ladies today are so incredibly empowered. Love that. You have no worries, my friend. My hubs used to stand anytime a lady entered a room or left the room. He stopped quite a few years ago. Not sure why - just casual comfort? Bad knees? Hope it's that and not loss of respect. I asked him about it once but he never really responded. Oh well. He still won me. I truly love an old fashioned gentleman. He will always open the doors for every lady, and I am truly spoiled. ♥♥ Have a fabulous holiday weekend.

  13. Image for Kris Kris

    My advice to my daughter (actually, I think it's useful for men and women) is to choose someone who is kind and respectful to people who they don't *have* to act that way toward. How do they treat waitstaff? Elderly people? Disabled people? Those of different ethnicities? I think you see a person's true colors when you pay attention to those things. It's easy to put on the charm when you are trying to win someone over. It's harder to do that over time, and I want my children to end up with someone who will choose to act with integrity for the long run. See, I have soapboxes, too!

  14. Image for Debbie Debbie

    I’ve been known to get on a soapbox or two myself, just ask my boy’s! I raised them to be true southern gentleman. I’m proud of the way they turned out and my oldest son just got married about 18 months ago. His wife said one of the things that attracted her to him was his mannerisms. She said that she never had anyone treated her like he does. When I met her the first time, she commented on how polite and mannerly he was and how he always opened the door for her and treated her like a lady. So you stay on your soapbox, because there are still young men in this world that have been brought up with the proper manners and know how to treat a lady with the respect they deserve.

  15. Image for PJ PJ

    It is so fun when your children become adults, and we can hear them giving your advice to others. We sometimes think our words fall on deaf ears, but our kids really are listening. Hugs to you and your beautiful family!


    KariAnne, you and your hubby have done a wonderful job of raising your children. It is very evident to see the love they have for you! God has blessed you and He will continue to bless you! Keep stepping up on your soapbox!

  17. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    LOL Have to share this with you! The end of your story reminded me of a quote from Andy Griffith (Mayberry), "I don't know why I am always gettin' my britches caught on my own pitchfork." LOL 😄 😍

  18. Image for Carol Carol

    KariAnne, You and your beautiful daughters look like triplets! Stay on your soapbox, honey, and one day you will see all your preaching "took" when you see your children standing on their soapboxes while "talking" to their own children, your grandchildren. When I see my own children get on their soapbox, I realize that they actually did listen to some of the things I said to them, and a wonderful feeling comes over me and I sit back and smile with a sense of accomplishment (and don't say a word!). Keep that soapbox handy and don't be afraid to step up on it!

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