I gave my public speaking class a homework assignment to write a speech on the topic, “The best advice I ever got.” Students know a lot more than adults give them credit for…especially if they got their wisdom from their parents. OK, I admit I’m biased. I’m convinced that more young people should listen to their parents, although I probably didn’t as much as I should have.
We all have advice we’d like to share, some good, some bad. Some of us can’t stop giving advice—to the chagrin of our family members and friends—and many of us don’t listen to advice anyway.
I’ve certainly heard enough of it from my mother, my father, my grandmother, my teachers, priests, professors, the pope, every boss I’ve had, and countless blowhards I’ve encountered throughout my life who shall go unnamed. And I’ve given my share of it to my kids, who occasionally listened, and my wife, who rarely listened. The older I get, the more they want to give ME advice.
My brain is teeming with advice, most of which I let go in one ear and out the other, as my mother would say.
My father, who lived the last 25 years of his life sober, was always passing along AA wisdom like “A day at a time” and “Live and let live.” The advice that got him sober and kept him sober was pretty simple: “Don’t drink and go to meetings.”
One valuable tip I often ignored came from my stock broker, who said, “Buy low and sell high.” Easier said than done. It was usually too late by the time I bought and even later by the time I sold. My 401(k) still hasn’t fully recovered from the trauma.
Throughout history, sages like Ben Franklin spouted adages like “He who lies down with dogs shall rise with fleas,” “A friend in need is a friend indeed,” “We may give advice, but we cannot give conduct,” “Search others for their virtues, thyself for thy vices,” and this classic, “There are three faithful friends—an old wife, an old dog and ready money.”
Another source of wisdom is the Book of Proverbs, which contains gems like “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” And this timeless proverb, which all husbands should memorize: “A wife of noble character is worth far more than rubies.”
I recently bought a book titled, “The Best Advice I Ever Got, by Katie Couric, who observed, “I never learned anything when I was talking.”
As I leafed through the pages, I found advice from many famous people, including the usual platitudes like “Do your best,” “Don’t be afraid,” “Work hard,” “Take risks,” and “Follow your dreams.” A few tidbits left me scratching my head in amazement. For example, Bill Cosby prophetically said, “Don’t be your own worst enemy.” As my mother would say, “He should have listened to his own advice.
Before his fall from grace, Matt Lauer said, “Sometimes you gotta go off course.” He sure did. Valerie Plame—remember her?—opined, “Life is unfair.” Echoing Socrates, Ellen DeGeneres said, “Be true to yourself.” And pre-presidential Donald Trump said, “Know everything you can.”
I was amazed that not one person mentioned God. However, one famous actor who isn’t afraid to mention God is Denzel Washington. In his commencement address at Dillard University, he told graduates, “Put God first! Put God first in everything you do!” That’s certainly worth remembering.
The best advice I ever got is better than everything in Katie Couric’s book. It’s a simple and yet life-altering piece of wisdom. It’s advice I try to remember every day: “ALL the answers lie in the tabernacle.” One more time. ALL the answers lie in the tabernacle. Not a few, not some, not many. ALL.
Are you troubled about money, your marriage, your kids, your job, your health, your country? Are you sick or depressed or unhappy or confused or lonely? Sit in front of the tabernacle. Talk to Jesus in the silence and then listen to Jesus in the silence, and he will speak to your soul.
All the answers lie in the tabernacle. Go there even if you don’t think you’re looking for answers because you’ll find consolation, peace and joy. You’ll find everything you need.
“All the answers lie in the tabernacle” is the best advice I ever got…or gave.