When you were born did you get your instruction book?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

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Did you get your life’s instruction book?

With most important things, when you make the purchase you get an instruction book. When you buy a new mower, you get a book.  When you buy a barbecue, you get a book. When I came home from the hospital I don’t think I got a book.

It would have been nice to get an instruction manual for life when I was born. How about you? Did you get an instruction book that told you what to do and where to go? Wouldn’t that have been helpful?

Such a book should include warnings – don’t do that with your life, it can be painful.

So often I feel like I am making this life up as I go along. You would think the instructions would have been clearer. Should I move here or there? Which relationships should I get into and which should I avoid. It would be nice to have instructions to known about the warnings without having to make the mistakes and suffer the pain of yet another learning experience.

Some hospitals used to give out books to new parents, what to do, and not do to be a good parent. Most of those books described the “typical” child and the “average” parent. “Typical” and “average” are rare things – almost as rare as those elusive “normal” people.

People who were given those baby-raising books, or bought one, report that the books were only marginally helpful. Not that you should do without one. If by some chance of luck you get a book that tells you how to raise a child and the system works, cherish that book. Just most of the time the book describes things that don’t happen, and your child is doing things that don’t sound like anything in the book.

Think of those baby-raising books more like field guides to the fauna of childhood than any accurate plan for raising your child right.  Books that describe developmentally appropriate parenting and life stages give you a guide to things some or many children a certain age do or should be able to do. As for your child, the writer of that book knows no more than the child does about how he may act tomorrow.

Which should you spring for, sports equipment, music lessons, or tutoring in algebra? Do everything right and your child may become famous for something you forgot to provide for him and may fail at the thing you put all that time and effort into. Kids are like that, so are adults.

The older the child gets, the less helpful the book becomes. Give that child a year, and just as you get them figured out they will have changed.

By the time your child is grown the book is hopelessly out of date, or the child is.

Most of the people who come to see me for counseling report they not only didn’t they get a book on how to be a parent they got even less information on how to grow up. So we teach our kids the lessons we learned from them about being a parent and leave the how-to grow up and have a happy life for them to figure out.

Despite all the books out there on how to live and how to have a happy life we still all need to live, make choices, and learn from our mistakes as well as our successes.

So consider all those self-help books – mine included, as books of suggestions. Try on the things that are suggested but feel free to discard anything that doesn’t work.

So many of my plans for a great life didn’t work out the way I planned them. I think that may be why the hospital neglected to give me that instruction book for my life. The full instructions are still being tested and improved.

Hope you are successful at designing and constructing a happy life for yourself. Remember there is time to write another chapter right up till the Great Editor adds the “The end.”

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

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