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Good advice needs to be followed

Advice is free and plentiful. But it’s not all good.

Bad advice is plentiful, and often taken. Good advice doesn’t come as often, or maybe it’s just not easily recognized as actually being good.

I can’t possibly recall all the occasions on which I was given advice that ended with the phrase, “When you’re an adult, you’ll understand.”

Yeah, right.

“I know you don’t get it, but just wait until you have children of your own.”

Bah.

“When you’re 30 years old you’ll wish you’d done such-and-such when you were 20.”

Hogwash.

All of these attempts to help me make wise choices and avoid the perils of learning the hard way simply fell on deaf (and dumb) ears.

I remember a moment of concern when I overheard my father talking to my mother when I was about 20 years old and a college student already in debt and failing classes that I never attended.

“Did you explain to him how all of this is going to affect him?” was something close to what my mother asked.

“I have tried,” my father responded. “But Brett is hard-headed and is just going to have to learn this on his own. He’s going to have to figure it out the hard way.”

My brief moment of panic was replaced by what I considered a sensible dismissal and a condescending chuckle. I was smarter than the average chicken, after all, and I had life already figured out.

No matter that I couldn’t muster the motivation to get a job, attend the classes for which I’d registered and signed promisory notes to pay for, or do anything else remotely useful with my life. I had something special.

I had goals.

In 10 years I was going to be a wealthy one-in-a-thousand graphic designer and illustrator, top of my field, already looking for new challenges because I had reached all of my life goals already.

Steps to getting there? Um … I’ll figure that out later.

Fast-forward 10 years, and I was married with two kids and one on the way, still in debt, and just finishing my bachelor’s degree. I’d finally understood — no, better to say I’d begun to understand — some of the advice my parents and other well-meaning individuals gave me.

I’d gone back to school and was one of the hardest working students in my discipline. I completed a master’s degree, as well.

I called my parents on multiple occasions for advice on all types of issues.

I even called my dad a couple of times when the conversation went like this:

(Phone ringing).

Dad: Hello?

Me: I’m sorry, Dad.

Dad: (laughter) Which child was it and what did they do?

Then I’d tell Dad about whatever had just happened and apologize for not listening to his advice when he gave it about how to act as a child, or how to raise them.

I’ve had the eye rolls from my own children as I tried to save them from the rock-strewn, hard-to-walk-down paths of stupid that we so often want to follow simply because we want to do things our own way, not the way anyone before us did.

My own advice to my children has echoed a lot of what I heard growing up, because it is good advice, whether I heeded it or not. And I’ve tried to share it by saying, I know you may not believe it right now, but …

Some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten was to love God and do what he says, no matter what. And to remember that no one else is better or worse than me — we all need to be loved — but I should treat everyone as if they were better than me. It’s a matter of humility and respect.

And it’s a matter of following good advice.

News editor Brett Campbell can be reached at brett.campbell@dailyleader.com or 601-265-5307.