Neal Schindler and his mom/Contributed photo

VIEWPOINTS: What’s the best advice mom ever gave you?

Viewpoints is a SpokaneFāVS feature where our writers respond to a weekly question. Readers are invited to participate by posting in the comment section below.

Since Mother’s Day was celebrated this past weekend, we thought we’d ask FāVS writers about the words of wisdom their mothers gave them.

What’s the best advice mom ever gave you?

Neal Schindler: Choose a path

Neal Schindler
Neal Schindler

I was around 30 years old. I sensed that my almost decade-long career in journalism and new media might be coming to an end. Yet I wasn’t sure what to do next: Graduate work in film studies? A two-year filmmaking program? A master’s in counseling? I felt paralyzed by indecision.

My mother encouraged me to “get off the dime” and choose a path. If it didn’t work out, I could always change course. But if I didn’t try something, I’d stay rooted in place. I followed her advice, applied to graduate programs in counseling, and was admitted to Eastern Washington University.
Simply choosing a direction brought me not only a degree and a new career but also marriage and homeownership. My mother was the one who reminded me that going down one path doesn’t necessarily eliminate all others, but staying put can.

Readers, chime in! How would you answer this week’s Viewpoints question?

About Tracy Simmons

Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 15 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She is also a Scholarly Assistant Professor at Washington State University.

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  1. Should we re-title this feature “Neal’s Viewpoints”? J/k

  2. I have one. I realize I should have emailed this to viewpoints. When I was a kid my mom used to make me go up to the food counter at places and order my own food instead of doing it for me.

    She said, ‘just because you’re a child doesn’t mean you can’t have a voice and do things yourself’ or something along those lines. I hated it. I didn’t like talking to strangers or asking for things. Now I realize she was helping me learn how to advocate for myself in a world that wasn’t going to do it for me.

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