While considering the prospect of reaching into the lives of others in the attempt to help people generate positive change in their lives, there is a need for some self reflection.  Who do I think I am to offer such advice – is it sage?  Does one need to be perfect in a sphere to offer opinion, counsel, or guidance?

I would like to share a concept I call the Bennett Syndrome.  It’s named after author and commentator Bill Bennett who wrote the book “The Book of Virtues: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories.”  After having this book publish and after speaking about about immorality and growing amorality within our so called modern society, it was uncovered that Mr. Bennett was a gambler.

This discovery lead many to question the concept of morality itself.  Could somebody espouse morals and not be morally pure?  Many would say no.  You can’t preach about anything you can’t do.

I couldn’t disagree more.

This is the same line of reasoning that says you can’t have a say in foreign affairs or military matters unless you’ve served yourself.  Unfortunately this line of reason is rather circular.  So would you say that I couldn’t speak on drug use unless I was a user myself?  In fact following this same logic – only those who are immoral could have any clout whatsoever to speak on morality – since they’re the only ones who have “lived on the other side.”  That’s absurd.

So all that just to say this.  I am on a journey in life.  I’m striving to improve, to change, to navigate my way through the waters I find myself in, to weather the storms of life.  Can I only speak to situations I’ve been in myself?  Must I finish my life before I can say anything about it?  I say no.  There are insights gained through synthesis that we don’t have to live through ourselves.  Can’t you look an someone’s situation and say, “Hmm, it would seem to me that their next step should be ______.”  Some would call that perspective.

So do I struggle to be organized?  Yes.  Do I suffer from acute and chronic bouts of procrastination?  I most certainly do.

Does this mean that I do not (or cannot) advocate vociferous action to be take by charting a course and setting sail?

As a financial mentor that I admire has said, “God makes me teach this stuff because I struggle with it every day.”

You can teach from a position of “been there, done that.”  And that is a very valid and valuable position to instruct from.  But there is also the “brother in arms,” struggle along side, I’m in there with you, “I feel your pain,” kind of teaching that has a respectable place and insights to offer as well.

That’s my opinion.

Do you have an opinion?  Why don’t you share it in the comments?