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Good and Bad Advice
Mom with a View

Good and Bad Advice

This line has got to be one of the worst pieces of advice.


Everyone likes to give advice -- mere acquaintances, friends, distant relatives, close relatives, parents and children (not to mention talk show hosts). Most of it is well-meaning. Some of it is innocuous. Some of it is actually good. And some of it is downright bad.

The biggest victims of this "wise" generation seem to be brides and new parents, although one only has to suggest a slight difficulty to be immediately moved into the "advice-needy" category.

When the advice is irrelevant, it is a gesture of kindness on the part of the listener to just nod and smile gratefully. When the advice is good, our appreciation should be more genuine.

But we need to be concerned about bad advice. Ethics of our Fathers is filled with admonitions for those who would dispense their advice freely with not enough thought to either the wisdom of their words or the consequences of acting on them. Accepting advice is much like purchasing merchandise -- "caveat emptor" -- let the buyer (listener) beware.

No one is objective. Everyone's advice is tainted (albeit subconsciously) by the impact of their own needs and desires.

Sometimes advice givers just repeat the same words of wisdom that "everyone says." Sometimes "everyone" is right. Unfortunately, sometimes they're also wrong.

For the generation who cried its way through repeated viewings of "Love Story," the words "Love means never having to say you're sorry" have imprinted themselves on our minds. We need to do serious and constant damage control to root out this trite yet potentially destructive idea because the truth is just the opposite.

Love means frequently having to say you're sorry: to a spouse ("I'm sorry I hurt your feelings by not paying more attention to you."); to a child ("I'm sorry I lost my temper with you."); to a friend ("I'm sorry; I should have given you the benefit of the doubt."). Admitting we may have made a mistake, apologizing for hurting those we care about, intentionally or unintentionally, taking the first step towards reconciliation -- these are the keys to a successful relationship.

No one can cause us pain like those we love, and no one's apology means more.

April 1, 2006

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Visitor Comments: 10

(10) Miri, April 8, 2006 12:00 AM


Thank You!! That line is terrible advice, and I am so glad others are seeing it too. Thank you for writing this, it is very true.

(9) raye, April 6, 2006 12:00 AM


It is a blessing when one learns to have compassion, even for those who have hurt us. It was the last weeks of my sister's life being relieved from pain with morphine when I flew down to Florida to spend time at her bedside. I sang songs that she was familiar with.
Then the last words she said were, "I'm sorry. Forgive me."

(8) Dovid Perlman, April 3, 2006 12:00 AM

Rav Shlomo Zalman - not love - awe

That Rav Shlom Zalman could say that he never did anything to require mechlah to his wife is not a testimony of his love for his wife but rather his yiras shomayim/ fear of G-d. Feelings wax and wane. For such a perfect relationship, that never had a misstep, Rav Sholomo Zalman must have had a crystal clear vision of the G-d's will in his treatment of and his relationship to his wife. This is a testimony of life long service of G-d. I'm sure he did cherish his wife. But this is not about love.

On another note, we have a mitzva to love Hashem and yet we ask forgiveness from Hashem 3 time a day (minimum).

(7) Chana Ruth, April 3, 2006 12:00 AM

so true!!!

The two most important words we can ever utter are "I'm Sorry." The most important part is that we mean them, and truly internalize what it means to be sorry for hurting our loved ones.

We must also know how to say I'm sorry to ourselves, who we hurt on a daily basis by acting inappropriately and by thinking negatively about ourselves.

Thanks for the reminder...

(6) Tracey S., April 2, 2006 12:00 AM


Next to "I Love You," saying that one is sorry is probably one of the most difficult statements a human can make. (It's right up there next to "I was wrong.") To say "I'm sorry" when one sincerely is truly shows the depth of love we have for one another and can be so healing -- for both the wronged party and the one who perpetrated the deed.

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