Advice is something given, usually freely, even when unasked for.
There are so many well- meaning people in the world that want to give
out pearls of wisdom, I am often inundated with ideas on all manner
things. How to shop for a home; buy a car; apply for credit; deal with
my love life, blah blah blah. The list seems to go on and on forever.
Everyone has a better way of doing something, and it's almost enough to
make me go crazy to have to listen to it all. However, there have been
incredibly wise bits of knowledge passed on to me, that while I may not
have understood them at the time, seem almost profound in hindsight.
Three of these are, don't go around fighting; watch how I use credit;
and finally, watch whom you trust.
When I was in highschool, I was a skinny little kid; I was a
natural target for bullies. As I got a little older, I learned to
fight. My parents were happy that I was learning something that would
help me physically, as well as with my confidence. Indeed, I no longer
walked around like a victim; the problem was that I seemed to be looking
for trouble. One day, as was sure to happen, I got into a fight. No
one was hurt, but my parents still got involved. After an
excruciatingly long lecture on how one stupid act could ruin my life, I
was sent on my way. "Boy," I thought, "they sure don't have a clue
about how life is today." Fortunately for me, I did listen, even though
I didn't understand. The next month a saw a young man arrested for
hitting someone. The fight started over a girl, and for hitting
another person, the young man went to jail for five months. His career
in law-enforcement was ruined before it even had a chance to start.
Another wonderful bit of advice my parents gave me was in the
usage of credit. "You can have too much credit. After awhile, it
becomes a perpetual monster in your life." At the time I was only
nineteen or so, with no idea of what interest charges were, and the
thought of all the spending power I could have, just waiting for me to
come apply was almost overwhelming. As soon as I was able, I got all
the easy credit I was allowed to get on my way to the American dream.
One day, I realized how much money I owed and was almost struck dumb by
what I had done. It happened to be that I was in the Army at the time
and didn't have to worry about grocery shopping or paying the light
bill, so with a second job and a little work, I was able to get out of
the hole I had dug myself into. Now my goal is to keep as little credit
as possible. There will always be a house and car payment. I don't
think I will be able to get around those, but for most of the other
stuff, if I can't pay cash, I don't need any of it.
And finally, the most, incredibly important concept ever taught me
is that the natural goodness of people can't be relied on. I was
terribly naive when I was younger. I had been in the Boy Scouts and
believed that most people had the same moral values I did. My parents
knew how I thought and through their own experiences, knew the painful
truth. I was always sheltered by their love, and never had my trust
betrayed by the people I knew in my youth. Indeed, it wasn't until I
had moved out and gone into the military that I had really dealt with
anyone that didn't think along the same lines I did. I was taken
advantage of unmercifully until I learned the hard way what my folks had
tried to teach me. With some incredible luck, all I lost was some
money. My so-called friends almost took me to prison and into a life
that I couldn't even begin to imagine.
Most people want to see a positive outcome in any venture. That's
why their advice is so freely thrown out to their friends, and indeed,
to people only just met in the supermarket check out line. It is just
so frustrating when people who seem so out-of-touch with their own lives
to try and tell me how to live mine. Advice from family is well-meaning
and given out of love; however, that doesn't mean it is worth listening
to. Everyone suffers from bad advice, even great leaders of the world.
The problem is, we have gotten so used to ignoring poor advice, that
many times the subtle well-placed counsels of a wise person are
ignored. I hope that as I grow older, I will become more adept at
skimming the wise droplets the float my way, while leaving the dross
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