“Brainstorming” was a concept that I was first exposed to in school, especially in college. By my senior year at Clemson most of our grades came from group projects. Just recently, our daughter was home on spring break and talking about group projects. It seems universities still see the “value” in a group taking advantage of putting their “heads together”. Our daughter has several group projects this last semester of her senior year.

Sadly, I was out of school and much older before I really grasped and utilized the advantages of “the group” on a daily basis. Today, on the Back 9, I can honestly say one of the best and most important things I do is to seek wise counsel, sometimes daily–taking advantage of the people around me who will offer advice, experience and wisdom. Embracing the quote by Walter Benjamin, “Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom.”

Others may call the group an “inner circle,” “think group,” “small group,” “brain stormers”. I have chosen to call my group “the Fab 15”. At one time it was the “Fab 5” but I realized there were so many people around me that were not just smart, but wise. Some have a truck load of experience so I expanded the group by 10. This group has never met collectively but it is a group of people I have personally selected to get to know. I want to build the kind of relationship that allows me to call them and seek their advice, wisdom, opinions, prayers, and expertise. I don’t even think they realize they are in the Fab 15. They do know I consider them my “go to peeps!”

I have taken the scripture found in Proverbs very seriously and applied it big time in the Back 9. Proverbs 15:22, “Plans fall for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” And Proverbs 11:14, “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.” Looking back, I can honestly say it is a concept I used in my early twenties when I was preparing for the Miss South Carolina Pageant. Fortunately, I was able to apply the same concept to the Miss America Pageant.

I often reflect on the people who were assembled around me to advise, teach and train me. They made for a great team. Today, I still use that wisdom and impart much of it to our daughter even though she has never been in a pageant. The wisdom I gained would apply to any woman/girl and some of it to males as well. It has been invaluable to me…for my entire life.

Another key use of “brainstorming” or “group think” happened in our early parenting years. God over and above answered my prayers as a young parent and literally dropped the “Growing Kids God’s Way” curriculum into our hands. We took the wisdom from Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo and shared it with others. We created small groups which proved to be a huge advantage as our kids were growing up. It provided strength, support, guidance and people to support each other in our parenting. Invaluable….

Today, I urge you to look around…and seek to align yourself with others that you can look to for advice, prayer and wisdom. People are one of God’s greatest gifts to us. That inner circle is priceless in both the good and bad times. It is a concept that, in the Back 9, I desperately seek to have our kids embrace…finding people ahead of them in life…that can pour into them wisdom and advice…who have their “greater good” in mind.

Maybe we can even make ourselves available to those coming behind us. When the Bible says a cord of 2 or 3 can’t be easily broken, that is some really good advice. At 52, I would say it is some of the best. I love the quote, “Consult your friend on all things especially on those which respect yourself. His counsel may then be useful where your own self love might impair your judgement.” ~Seneca

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