I’ve said before how fond I am of Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I typically read one story a night just before drifting off to sleep. I take whatever I’ve been reading or watching on television into my dreams so I work to keep things light. I bought the book The Best Advice I Ever Heard: 101 Stories of Epiphanies and Wise Words. I’m coming to the end of it and thought I would pass it on to my niece. She’s young, in college and asking a lot of questions while getting every imaginable answer. It made me wonder about the wisdom that’s passed down from generation to generation.
I didn’t get advice from my parents. They weren’t the kind of people who talked to their kids. My dad would drop little sayings on occasion. “Never vote for an incumbent”; ‘There is nothing more dangerous than a closed mind’; ‘He who hesitates has lost’. Mom told me one New Year’s eve after a little bit of celebrating, that no one would ever take care of me the way I could take care of myself. She was a little late with that advice and offered nothing to implement it with. On rare occasion, she would spill a little story of something that she had dealt with in a way that taught me I needed to be strong.
There was the time she had a flat tire with my siblings in tow. She called my dad at work. Apparently he was less than helpful and told her to handle it. She did, Once the tire had been changed, she drove to the nearest tire store and bought four new tires. Problem solved. It was a lesson for him as well. She always said that when someone (dad) told her no, all bets were off and she would find a way to do whatever he said no to. Like how she taught herself to drive when he was away on maneuvers and couldn’t stop her. Those were sound life lessons for me.
I picked up what I know about life from books, life experience and the School of Hard Knocks. Then I found out some of the books were outdated. I’ve learned to listen carefully to advice from friends and other family members, smile and weigh it for a glimmer of good sense. Then do what I always do, trust my gut. It will never fail you if you pay careful attention. The truth for everyone depends on what filter people see information through.
What could I pass on to my impressionable young niece?
Always be truly yourself. It’s your job. Be kind and honest no matter what it might cost at that moment. Do what sings to your heart, the rest will take care of itself. Read and listen to things that are contrary to what you believe at the moment. Take everything with a grain of salt. Only part of it may hold true for you.
People are filled with good advice. I think most of us hear advice with a tunnel through our ears. You know, in one ear, out of the other.
Did you get any good advice and did you pass any on to friends and family?
From my heart to yours,