Just because I’m a grandma doesn’t mean I know much about grandparenting. I’m not an expert. I’m not an expert on motherhood either, and I’ve been in that role a lot longer. I’m a writer but not an expert at writing. I am pretty good at a lot of things but not an expert in any of them. We might have a title or be in a role, but it doesn’t make us an expert. And that’s okay. It also doesn’t mean we’re clueless.
It’s wise to acknowledge our limited knowledge and experience, but we don’t have to simultaneously eclipse all value we have in speaking into others’ lives. Likewise, we can seek and listen to people who have experiences to share even when they aren’t considered experts. Otherwise, we might have not seek substantial advice from anyone.
We like to assign and expect the expert title. We quote those we trust. How many times in the past couple years during this pandemic have we said or heard, “A doctor (or nurse or anyone related to the health profession) said…” and base our next steps on the words that follow? We dismiss the advice that we don’t want to follow and rip away their title and credibility as an expert. We overlook any warning signs of those we want to follow and super-glue their title of expert. Healthcare might be an example we can easily see right now, but the same concept applies to many situations.
Of course, where healthcare and other areas of life are concerned, we need to trust someone with training, with advanced information based on sound education. But there are many areas in our lives in which we can share our experiences and be helpful to people. In other words, there are some areas of our lives in which we don’t have to demand a degree (and there are some even the presence of a degree doesn’t insure trustworthy advice).
I want to engage in great conversations that challenge and equip me. I won’t trust every voice, but I hope I pause before muting someone. I hope I don’t limit my voice because I don’t feel qualified, and I hope I speak humbly when I do.