Give advice to others only when asked or obligated to do so.
One of the best things about my dad is his ability to follow this maxim. Throughout my life, he and I have had our ups and downs. There are, however, a few things I can be certain of when it comes to him.
1. He will only give advice when asked.
2. He will be completely honest with his advice when asked.
3. Once he has given advice, he leaves it up to you to take the advice, or completely ignore it.
My experience as a priest tells me that he is unusual. As a pastor of a relatively large parish, I constantly receive unsolicited advice. It is the rare occasion that I find it helpful. In most cases it ends up simply being a criticism that is disguised as advice.
Isn’t it true that most of us when looking at a situation from the outside feel that if only others would follow our advice, the world would be a much better place? I find it very easy, especially in an election year, to sit back and watch others’ mistakes and to criticize. It’s not very difficult to give advice, but judging which advice to follow is another thing altogether.
What has been your experience in both giving and receiving advice?