The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


June 7, 2011

Advice with a slice of strawberry bread

What is the best advice you ever received? Think about it.

I have received a lot of good advice in my life, but the very best advice I ever received was from my wise father. He was a farmer/rancher who was born in Indian Territory before  Oklahoma statehood. He had seen a lot of changes in his lifetime and knew a lot about a lot of things. He thought ahead of what might happen in certain circumstances. Someone asked him one time in an interview if had lived all his life near the old homestead. His reply was, “Not yet”. He had a great sense of humor and great sense to go with it. He was a wealth of information and a living history book.

The good advice Daddy gave me was to keep my nose clean. Perhaps that is a little gross and homespun, but I knew what he meant. It simply meant to think about things and stay out of trouble, and don’t get involved in others’ affairs. No matter what others do, that I was to do my own thing and mind my own business.

Jim gives similar advice. He tells me occasionally to just go play my little piano. That simply means to do my own thing and not get involved in the affairs and problems of other people. I play my little piano a lot at various times.

Do you give good advice? I give lots of advice — free advice! And it is worth just about what some people pay for it. They go right ahead and do what they want to do, which it the way it should be. How can I know what is best for another person?  I can’t. We cannot know what another person is going through until and unless we have walked in their shoes. Even then, it is not the same. We can empathize with them and know how we might feel, but we have not walked in their moccasins.

Do you take good advice? We all like to listen to what others are saying and suggesting and it is good to hear all sides of an issue before deciding what one will do, but in the final analysis, we must do what we think is best for ourselves regardless what others think.

I have received lots of good advice in my lifetime. Sometimes I have heeded the advice and wished I hadn’t. Other times I have ignored it and wished I had listened more carefully. We have no one to blame but ourselves  for any choices we have made in our life. It does pay to listen and then make an educated decision knowing every angle.

I have asked many people about the best advice they ever had. Some are funny and some are tragic. Most Marines say, “Never volunteer for anything.” They think they mean it, but really they don’t. Most Marines I know are very helpful and never stand back if they see a need in any situation. They seem to be the first to volunteer in a calamity.

One dear friend said she never received any advice at all when she was growing up and had to learn everything on her own. That is difficult for me to understand because I was overwhelmed with advice from my grandparents, parents, aunts, sisters, teachers and friends. I still get great advice from all of them and appreciate their input. They have only my best interest at heart. They only want what is best for me and I know it.

However, sometimes people can be wrong in their counsel. Several people told me what a mistake it would be for me to marry a man who had a 15-year-old daughter, because of what problems might arise with a teenager. I prayed about it and was guided to take the chance. What a great joy I would have missed if I had listened to those people. My “daughter” has been the joy of my life, and presented me with two wonderful granddaughters. I had to make my own decision, and it was a wise one. I have never been sorry.

It is difficult for young people to listen to what we elders advise because of our vast experiences. We want them to not make the same errors of judgment that we made. But most kids have to learn the hard way, just like we did. They learn by doing and undoing just like we did. Next time they possibly will listen to those of us who have traveled that road. Some young people get a little tired of hearing what we did in the “olden days” and can’t see how then applies to now.

Kids are more prone to watch a sermon than hear it. “Do as I say, and not as I do” is not good advice to any child. Edgar A. Guest said it best in his poem from “Sermons We See”:

“I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day;

“I’d rather one would walk with me than merely tell the way.

“The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear,

“Fine counsel is confusing, but example’s always clear;

“And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds,

“For to see good put in action is what everybody needs.”

I have been advised to put a strawberry muffin or bread recipe in my column since strawberries are so plentiful now. Hope you enjoy it.

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