Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Writing - Best Advice I Ever Had

Yet another readwave submission.

Best Advice I Ever Had

            Advice is an interesting idea. When you break it down into component parts it is a concept that depends on the experience, attitudes and character of the person giving the advice; and, if you are the recipient, your current frame of mind, your personality and experience are also important. So a bit of a complex subject! Then of course there is the situation, so lots of variables, but quite often recipients may well be classified into two groups:-

‘those who have thousands of experiences’


‘those who have the same experience a thousand times’.

Those of us in the second group are not likely to respond to any kind of advice!
            There are two pieces of advice I tend to carry round in my head which I am better at responding to now than when they were initially given. I was fortunate in having intelligent and practically minded parents and as you may expect, life advice tends to come from those that raise us. The first often repeated advice, from my mother was,
‘you need to be patient’
In fact she repeated the advice lots of times when I was a teenager because it is the one behaviour that I didn’t use to display. As I’ve attained years, realisation that what she was saying was very important, has finally embedded into my consciousness. It must have been painful to watch to those outside looking in! Of course with all good advice, once you own it, you tend to pass it on. As a teacher I had many occasions when encouraging a child to be patient with themselves, has allowed learning to become more accessible.
            In dealing with other people I am more aware of the need to give them a chance. While relating with others I probably err on the over-patient side nowadays but that is because I have acquired a desire to see the best in them. It saddens me when people are too quick to condemn based on their own prejudices and attitudes.

            The second piece of advice was from the other side of the parental support network responsible for my upbringing – my father. He was a quiet man not prone to outbursts of any kind, but nevertheless who held very firm views, on a variety of subjects. I was probably in my late teens when he gave me this piece of advice,

‘they all look the same with their trousers round their ankles’

Initially, that may seem rather rude to some of you reading this but it was delivered on the occasion of my first successful job interview. I was berating myself for not having the necessary skills or abilities to fit into the new situation and all he was saying was that I was a human like the rest of the people working at the place. If you think about it the meaning behind the advice goes a lot deeper than that.
            We live in a world that seems to be besotted with the media and also the cult of celebrity. It pervades our world and deflects from real talent and ability. There are innumerable people round the globe who have great talents and abilities and go unsung because they shun glorification through the media. There are others more shallow, and attracted purely by money, that will do anything to appear on the small screen. You just have to watch some of the less savoury daytime TV shows to observe the basest of these people in action. My father’s advice allows one to observe such glory seekers more objectively.
            The really important aspect of the advice is that it allows the person accepting it to have a better view of themselves. If you are in conflict with one other person and you are already negative about yourself you have lost 2:1! That was why my father gave me the advice, so that I would not put myself down.

            Finally, the latter piece of advice from my Dad really led me to give advice to my children but not quite in the same way. Those who have had children, who are rearing youngsters or who work with children will hear them say things like ‘I’m hopeless at……’ which is a self-damning statement. It leads to failure and self-fulfilling prophesies. They say ‘they can’t’ and so they don’t! Now I’m not that naïve to believe that everyone can be good at everything but you have to give yourself a chance and that has to come from an ‘I can try’ attitude. So my advice to anyone who chooses to take it would be this,

‘don’t say that you can’t before you have tried’

 God Bless