Mar 27, 2015

Giving Advice with Love

I have been thinking about advice a lot lately. I wrote about how to consider this advice when in the role of writer earlier this week. Part of this subject being so prevalent is due to what is happening in my classroom - seniors have two months until they graduate, the juniors are realizing what one more year of high school means and each of these groups tell me all the advice they get - and often the lack of value they see.

"Go to this school..."
"Major in ..."
"By this age, you should..."

And after each statement, they offer the reason the advisor made the suggestion - it was what they had done.

I think we all have great intentions when we give our own advice - we see someone who wants help, who we think needs help, and we offer a variation of what worked for us. Often, though, we forget the people we are talking to aren't us. This occurs in marriage advice, parenting advice, cleaning advice, reading advice.

The important thing is to remember that the person offering advice is usually doing it out of love and concern, that they want to see us happy.

But more than that, we need to consider why we are giving advice as well. Are we doing it to show how smart we are, to prove that we can accomplish a thing, or is the intent to help someone? If we are trying to help, have we taken the time to truly listen first?

Helping others is noble, as long as we are doing it for the right reasons.


JeffO said...

Good point, Tasha. I think it's also important when giving advice not to make it sound like it's super easy. Advice starting with the words "You should just..." probably should never be given--or given in that way. Things are not easy when you're the one in the soup.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yes, good point. Just showing off how clever we are is a really lousy reason. Or giving advice we wish we'd followed so that someone can live a life we missed. (Hope the latter makes sense.)