There is a point, or should be a point in everyone’s lives when you realize that the mighty and all knowing Wizards of Oz (read “your parents”) don’t know everything. As a kid, you look up to your parents as the smartest people in the world, mostly because you don’t know too many people and they seem to know an infinite times more than you know. For example, who else can answer all of those questions on the morning radio talk show about trivia from the 60’s?
Don’t get me wrong, many parents rock! My parents are awesome and I am now one of those parents who knows an infinite times more than my kids (for the next couple of years at least). I think that the moment that you realize that your parents are not always right and there are some things that they don’t know is the moment that you can start growing up and becoming the person who you need to be.
Have your parents said any of the following?
Don’t talk to strangers – It may be good advice for a 3 year old but it is that advice that trains us to shut ourselves into our little boxes as we grow up. Speaking to strangers, meeting new people and networking are some of the most important ways for a person to grow.
Go to school, get a degree, get a job – School is still important and education is probably the most important thing you can ever invest in but the way that the advice was given to us by our parents was coming from a different world. It was a world where getting a degree would guarantee you a great career.
If you cross your eyes like that, they will stay that way – I’m not even sure where this came from but it is not true.
You are different than your parents. You are growing up in a different world, with different technology, different options and different challenges. You also have different ideas and different passions and you should follow them.
One piece of advice that I learned a while ago and live by is “don’t take advice from anyone who hasn’t successfully done what you are trying to do”. There are many good intentioned people out there that want to help you out and give you advice but unless they have successfully done what you are trying to do, they don’t know enough to give you good advice. Think about it, would you take business advice from someone who has never started or run a business?
When you are really young, your parents may have all the answers because your life is not that complicated and everything you are learning is pretty general. As you grow up, you start to specialize and you go places where your parents haven’t necessarily ever traveled before. For example, the math you learn in first grade is teaching you the basics such as addition and subtraction. Most parents should be qualified to help you out with that. As you get older and start specializing in algebra, trigonometry, calculus and model theory, unless your parents are mathematicians, they probably can’t help you as much. The same goes with every field and everything else in life.
Your parents want the best for you and based on their knowledge, try to give you the best advice. Unfortunately, it is not always the best advice to follow. So, love your parents, appreciate all that they have given you but if you want to get lucky, take any advice after your 13th birthday with a grain of salt.