Being a parent can be kind of a thankless job at times. Kids are inherently selfish, they think they know everything, and they never seem to listen. Who among us hasn't, at some point in their adulthood, reflected on their younger self and thought, "wow, I really was a jerk to my parents." Show me that person and I'll show you someone who has a lot of work to do on themselves.
But for the most part, the older we get, the more we come to appreciate the life lessons our parents bestowed on us. A recent Twitter thread started by POLITICO writer Dan Diamond demonstrated just that, with tons of users sharing the best advice their parents ever gave. Turns out even when they don't seem to be, children are listening. Here's some of the best words of wisdom people got from mom and dad.
Dan got the ball rolling with his parents' best advice. If his mom's advice sounds familiar, it sounds a lot like something France McDormand's character in Almost Famous says to Russell (played by Billy Crudup). She attributes the quote to Goethe, but others cite Basil King. Whoever said it, they're good words to live by!
I'm partial to dad's advice, myself. Not only is kindness a good virtue to look for in a partner, but relationship experts predict the surest sign of a relationship's longevity. John Gottman, who has studied couples for more than 40 years, says he can predict whether a couple will divorce based on how they interact in conflicts. Turns out, people who choose kindness over contempt stay together.
MH Rudolph's parents gave a valuable lesson here that is kind of blowing my mind. Often we place too much importance on people's opinions, positive or negative — though the tendency to dwell on negative opinions seems more prevalent. But the reminder that praise and criticism are just information helps strip those words of their weight, which may help us better absorb constructive criticism as well as to filter out that information which is unhelpful.
Perspective is important, and often we find ourselves fretting needlessly over problems that aren't as big as we're making them in our heads. If you can throw money at a predicament without putting yourself in debt, count yourself among the lucky.
Kindness was a common thread in this roundup of priceless parental advice. It reminds me of the late writer Michelle McNamara: "It's chaos, be kind." It costs nothing to be kind to others and can make all the difference in their day. Kindness can even save lives.
This is outstanding advice. If you are an optimist, you might discount the fact that things won't always go the way you want them do. So, whenever making a decision, always consider the best and worst possible outcomes — then only act if you are willing to cope with the consequences, either way.
This is the golden rule of camping but it pretty much can apply to all aspects of life. If we all made an effort to leave every place we go better than it was when we got there, the world would be a better place. And there are lots of ways we can do that, physically as well as in less tangible ways. Pick up trash around you, fix that rickety stair everyone keeps avoiding, or offer a solution to a problem people are grappling with.
As much as I appreciate the command to respect your elders, these are some sage words to live by. Bad people come in all shapes and sizes, and it's wise to be wary. It's not like Charles Manson became a cuddly fun grandpa when he got older!
Kate's mom is hilarious, but that's not bad advice. Jokes about reggae aside, it's important to experience all that life has to offer. But it's probably best to steer clear of heroin — which is insanely addictive and, especially nowadays, very dangerous. And since suicide is pretty damn final when properly executed, that's another good experience to avoid.
This bit of Russian wisdom translates pretty well in any language. If your entire life is dedicated to making money, rather than remembering the point of making money is to help buy what we need to live an enjoyable life, you're going to live a life of regret. Remember, you can't take it with you!
Sometimes the most valuable lessons our parents give us come from their mistakes. Like too many people, Arlen here didn't benefit from having a good dad who was there for him. While he may not have any sage advice on parenting from his absentee father, he seems to have turned it around by vowing not to repeat his mistakes.
To be honest, I'd argue that 18 is still too young to make decisions as big as whether to potentially put your life on the line for your country. But no matter what are you are, it's always good advice not to make big decisions impulsively. Not only can circumstances change a lot in a matter of weeks or months, but you may feel differently with time to reflect.
Not only will doing something good for someone else make their day better, but it will actually improve yours. Nobody has ever regretted making someone else's day better. This bit of advice reminds me of a three-part solution to tough days a dear friend of mine once shared:
"1. Do something you have to do. 2. Do something you want to do. 3. Do something for somebody else."
Works every time.