Wednesday, April 05, 2006

2355 Name five things

This is a challenge, not a meme. I gave it to my son this morning and he just laughed, because I think he knows he'll flunk the test. List the five suggestions or pieces of advice (wanted or unwanted) that your parents gave you that turned out to be wrong. I'm even going to challenge myself, since my parents (now deceased) were very liberal with their advice throughout my life.

I can only come up with some "also rans." The advice wasn't wrong exactly, or terrible, and things worked out, but maybe not for the expected reasons.

The one that I think I remember most clearly is my father telling me I shouldn't major in foreign languages in college because I wouldn't be able to get a job (in the 1960s). You know what? He was right, although for the wrong reasons. I just wasn't very good at it. However, even if I'd been really fabulous and fluent, I'm not sure I would have had what it takes to go after a foreign service career or working in another country. I did go on and combine that degree with library science and had an interesting career--although only a fraction of it ever involved my first degree.

Both my parents told me I was too strict with my children and had too many rules. Again, they were right, but for the wrong reasons. My rules were fine, well thought out and logical. They just created too much work for ME. Our family life could have been more pleasant and relaxed for me if I'd not been spitting into the wind so much. I don't think it affected our children one way or the other. Children probably need security and stability more than fun and games.

There were at least two times in my adult life when I asked my parents for a loan, and they said no, and gave me advice instead. They weren't exactly wrong, and it didn't alter my life. But it wouldn't have hurt them a bit, and nothing in the experience and hard feelings that resulted particularly benefited anyone.

Usually, father (or mother) does know best. Can you think of 5 times the advice your parents gave you was wrong? Google the question in both the negative and positive, and you'll see what I mean. If parents give bad advice, no one seems to be writing about it.

1 comment:

Harrison said...

I can only think of three, but I'm workin' on the other two.

1. "You'll never get anything published, so stop writing."

Four years later I had my poetry published in a (real) national anthology (not one of those fake, you-pay-for-it types) and a year later, began having short stories and children's plays published.

2. "You'll never earn a living in drama." (A college warning.)

Six years later I was hired as producer/director for a summer stock company (which I kept for three years) and later, Artist in Residence for Theater in a huge CA school district.

In all fairness to my parents, they were gracious enough to openly admit they were competely wrong.

Oh yeah...the third. Become a librarian.