don’t ask me

dancing to her own music

Oh, I know I’ve been quiet lately– my children scold me almost daily, “We need a new post!” and then scroll through the archives and laugh over past exploits (a habit I love). Like everyone else I’ve been too busy (I always think of writing as a luxury rather than a chore) and I’ve been so opinionated these days I’m hesitant to tell you what I really think.
For some odd reason, I’ve been asked for advice almost daily this month, one blog advertiser even suggested I promote myself as a parenting expert with a button, weblinks and even a Skype account where people could pay to receive my advice. I couldn’t press DELETE fast enough.
Don’t get me wrong. I love queries for my opinion and if I don’t stop myself, I’ll give you the uncensored rundown of just what to do. But I recognize this tendency as a weakness, even when friends ask, they are merely looking for ideas and options. Even topics as simple as allowance are laden with emotions and back stories and family goals. What works for my family (no allowance, ever) might not work for you.
So, when I’m behaving and at my restrained best, I’ll give this advice: watch, listen, ask questions, read, pray and choose what is best for your family. You are the parent, you know your child better than any book or expert; you know your family dynamics and goals. And if you don’t, find out. Take time to decide the sort of family life you crave and make choices accordingly.
When we first began establishing our family culture with Ben and Stefan I heard a fair amount of criticism from neighbors. We were, and are, very very different, but our choices fit our goals.
One of the facts still lodged in my brain from a family science class twenty-three years ago is successful families have few rules. It sounds counterintuitive– don’t rules lead to results?– but building a family culture is far more effective. My kids study hard because Lehnardts want to be smart, they practice instruments because we love good music (and haven’t The Piano Guys proven once and for all classical music is both awesome and manly?), they are kind because we don’t tolerate or celebrate meanness and they clean and wash and weed because we work together. We fail daily, but we constantly evaluate our choices and habits and seek better ones.
Ah, look, I’ve just given all kinds of opinions. But don’t listen to me; listen to yourself, listen to God. Choose the life you want; make it yours.
Just in case you haven’t heard of The Piano Guys, take a peek at their newest video (and then spend the rest of the weekend watching/listening/obsessing over everything they’ve ever produced. They are the perfect example of being different, marching to their own beat and finding success.

April 12, 2012
April 29, 2012



  1. Lisa

    April 26, 2012

    I literally picked up my phone to send you a text telling you how much I have missed your blog posts, but thought I’d check one…more…time! Oh I love you and your family and now The Piano Guys! I can’t wait to show this to the Teenager.

    What wisdom and grace you possess as you raise beautiful and successful children. And the best part…what you see on this blog truly depicts your family. Love this post and you!

    PS…the photo of Miss Mary is absolutely heavenly!

  2. piegirl234

    April 27, 2012

    You should check out the piano guys – cello wars gaha do funny I love it.

  3. Tracy

    April 27, 2012

    Oh that was hot. I know what I’ll be doing for the next few hours…

    I love your parenting advice. You have a fabulous family. Love you.

    I have missed you.

  4. Cath

    April 27, 2012

    Michelle, this was so profound to me today. I sent it to Doug to read, so we can discuss and brain-share. Fewer rules, more passion and enthusiasm for what we love, what matters, what we value? Wow. I always listen when you talk. And I’m with Lisa, I have missed your posts so much. Glad you’re back today. And sweet Mary, you are so beautiful all-haloed in light. xo

  5. Mormon Women: Who We Are

    April 27, 2012

    Count me as another one who has missed your posts.

    Go, queen, go.

  6. Kerri

    April 28, 2012

    You know what I think!!! XO

  7. Anne Marie

    April 28, 2012

    Thank you for your thoughts here. I would happily read any parenting advice column you might write….although I know that’s absolutely not what you want…you have natural wisdom though. It is a gift of yours. Wishing you well.

  8. jenjamin

    April 30, 2012

    You are wonderful!! I LLOOVVEE that picture!

Comments are closed.