By Allison Johnson
Blog Content Contributor
In August of 1933, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a beautiful letter to his daughter filled with heartfelt advice. I believe the theme of his letter was not to let worldly desires be the root of your happiness, but that its advice is intended for all walks of life just as well. Fitzgerald told her to worry about things that matter, like courage and cleanliness instead of distractions from parents, boys, pleasures, and even growing up.
Fitzgerald also told his daughter to be aware of the questions: “Do I understand people, and am I able to get along with them?” “Am I using my body as a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?” These questions can make a person think long and hard about choices, which is something we could all work on every day to become a better person, and honestly, I feel like that is all a good parent wants out of their child, to live a good life. You can always run to friends for help, but chances are, they are going through the same thing as you right now, and want to listen to their own naïve intuition, and give that advice to you as well.
The good thing about taking advice from your parents, especially if they went through or can relate to the situation, is that they usually know the possible outcomes. They can tell you why you are making a mistake, or why you are doing the right thing and to keep doing what you are doing. Along with F. Scott Fitzgerald, my parents did a good job of giving my sisters and I a piece of great advice every now and then. From dealing with hateful classmates, managing school, relationships and going to work; I needed their help somewhere down the road. To my parents, if you ever have any more words of advice you think I may need, I ask that you will always tell me. It has been bumpy ride so far and and as I grow older, it is only going to get harder.
I try to text my parents as much as possible when I have the chance, and call them here and there, but nothing beats talking to them in person, about something important. but if I had to choose something just as meaningful I would say a letter is special. You don’t need to have the writing skills of F. Scott Fitzgerald to write some powerful words. iMessages will probably be erased after a week since we need more storage every five minutes. Parents, give your children some advice. Tell them where you went wrong, let them learn from your mistakes so bad history doesn’t repeat. Tell them not to worry. It all starts with you.
If you are not sure about what you could ask your parents about, here are some suggestions. Are you in a relationship? If your parents have been around you and your significant other long enough, ask if they think it’s a healthy relationship. Chances are your parents know what a healthy, strong relationship is, and what an awful relationship is at your age. Single? Since you’re not devoting time to a SO, ask them what’s something they wish they would’ve done differently at the age of 21 if they were single. My mom was married with a baby by then. I know exactly what she would’ve done differently, and that’s why I’m where I am now. Ask them anything. Ask them if they think it’s worth buying a home right at the age of 23, or 24.
My Dad is a man who truly wants to see his daughters have a successful career one day. I’m sure he knows it’s a bit tougher for women, so I need to know how brazen and demanding I need to be one day when I get a job. He’s worked with strong, intelligent women. If any of them ever gave him their two cents of how they felt going into their career as young women straight out of college, I need to know what’s okay, and what isn’t. To my fellow bobcats, our parents have experienced, seen, and heard a lot of things. Have a conversation with them, and listen carefully. I have little sisters who I tell everything to, I let them know what I would’ve done differently at the age. Giving someone a chance to learn before they mess up or is an opportunity for better choices right away.
My favorite advice from my mom, telling me to never marry, and from my Dad, telling me to marry, just not to force anything, and to marry someone you have a million things in common with. Night and day, but I will be sure to keep both in mind.
Featured image courtesy of Allison Johnson.