Isn’t good advice so much more relevant when you actually need it?
When you’ve forgotten the waitress’s warning and just bitten into a habanero hidden within the pasta, “Watch out for the habaneros” becomes a sage recommendation.
And who cares if strapping a small purse around your waist is ridiculously unattractive? When you’ve squatted to pee and your phone has slipped out of your pocket and into the port-a-potty, “Bring a fanny pack” sounds stellar.
Same goes for “warm coat,” “comfortable shoes,” and “umbrella.” Moms know what they’re talking about. Probably because they’ve been caught out in the cold rain wearing flip-flops many a time.
Since good advice becomes more useful once we’re mired in a situation, I wonder if we’re destined to continue to ignore good advice until we need it. Will we forever be shaking our heads and muttering, “Of course! Aunt Judy told me I shouldn’t jog on the deer path in the middle of cougar territory!”
We humans have a strong desire to figure things out for ourselves, to explore our own frontiers. When you tell someone you’re going to Germany and he says, “I’ve been there! Sit down and let me tell you about the 400 things you need to see and the 100 things you don’t,” does that make you happy or sad?
It’s probably why you’re not supposed to offer advice unless asked. No one wants to hear about the one time your daughter pooped (aka massive explosion) at the library and you had no clean diaper because you know your daughter’s bowel movements and she was not supposed to poop again that morning. They file that under, “Don’t care.” They’re not going to need that information until they need it, and by then it’s too late. All they can do is remember for next time your wise words about keeping diapers in the car–and tell the next mother they see before she even indicates she doesn’t know how to handle her children.
Once wisdom is gained, though, it’s hard to keep quiet, isn’t it? It’s not easy watching someone tiptoe toward the dark closet where the ax murderer hides. You just want to save a life, that’s all.
As Oscar Wilde noted, “The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use oneself.”