Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Life Lessons 101 with Teacher Katie

teacher clip artLife teaches us many lessons--we all know this.  Today I'm thinking about unwanted advice, and how to deal with it.  We've all had unwanted advice.  There's the pregnant woman who hears advice on everything from stretch mark miracle creams to natural labor, or the young mother who gets stopped at the grocery story by 47 elderly ladies, who each have something to tell her that she's doing wrong (bundle that baby up!  don't give her a pacifier!  you should be feeding him more!).

I get unwanted advice as the parent of a child who has cancer, too.  Well-meaning people tell me how to better treat Emma's cancer; all-natural diets, cut out dairy, think positive (that one is particularly amusing), get more exercise.  The list goes on.

I haven't ever (okay, not often anyway) gotten upset over the unwanted advice.  I usually just smile and nod, saying something like "that does sound like good advice", because really, when is 'get more exercise' not good advice? 

So today's life lesson is to laugh off well-meaning but annoying people.  That wasn't a very nice thing to say, was it?  However, I figured this was something that everyone goes through; we don't have to get angry or bitter at those people who are trying (albeit unsuccessfully) to help us with our lives.  They do mean well.  So laugh it off with me, and maybe, just maybe, give some thought to what they say.  You never know...they might have a point.


  1. Katie, You are kinder than I am. People who think they know everything really tick me off, but perhaps unwanted advice is not the worst of it. When my daughter was a baby she had a very prominent birthmark on her eyelid. The entire lid was red. And I was forever getting looks from people who assumed I had hit her. I'll never forget those disgusted looks and mumbled words. They were judging me without knowing anything about me or my daughter.
    Then later during the years that we homeschooled our girls, older women who would see us out and about during school hours would take it upon themselves to tell me that my kids should be in school. Really, it always amazed me how often other people concerned themselves with what was none of their business. Hmmm. Do I sound riled up? Like I said, you are kinder than me ;)

  2. Sometimes I feel bad when I post something, and later wonder if people think I'm being a 'know it all' (hope it wasn't something I said in a post somewhere.)

    I used to work with a man who did a lot of paintings, and different kinds of art. He had had a gallery at one time, but when I worked with him it was at a motel. He was in maintenance, but we talked a lot about art. He would always give me advice on pursuing art and how you have to invest in yourself to make it happen. That was many years ago. He still works for someone else doing maintenance. My wife and I own a store and do arts and crafts. Each time he comes around he still "whines" about working for someone else. I even tell him some of his own advice. Guess I'm rambling, but seeing this post, and talking to this guy just yesterday made me wonder just how many people follow their own advice.

    My children are grown, but I try not to give them straight out advice unless they ask. I may suggest what I would do from time to time, but try to not be the know it all.

    Like Inluvwithwords said about you being kind and just knowing you from the WR and here,I couldn't imagine you being rude to anyone. So if you want my advice...oops, I shouldn't say anymore.

    I'll hush now.

  3. Ruth, that is terrible about your daughter! I have learned (well, at least I try) that I am not a good judge of people, and I definitely can't go on looks alone.

    I guess that was the point of the post--it won't kill me to be kind, even to stupid people ; )

  4. Rick, you are too funny! Thanks for your kind words. My family is coming to your town tomorrow; I have an invite to come along, but I haven't made up my mind yet!

  5. I often smile and nod when I hear well-meaning advice I don't need. I might add a soft 'Ah ...'

    Sometimes I feel wicked for being ... patronising. Sometimes I feel the need to defend my space, you know?

  6. You're right, it's sometimes hard not to lash out, as Claudine said, to defend your space. But you have to pick your battles and conserve your energy for life's important things. So, Katie, I like your advice to "laugh off" the unwelcome advisers.

  7. Some people genuinely are trying to help and other just think they know best. You have to weed out the advice and look for what might really work for you. I do like the smile and nod approach to handling people with lots of advice to give out. ;)

  8. Conserve engergy for what's important--love it Anne!

    And you're right, Kelly, sometimes people are genuinely trying to help, that is what I face a lot with people's comments about Emma's healthcare. So I do try to be kind in return : )