Will Morrow (courtesy)

Will Morrow (courtesy)

It’s not always better to give

I was trying to come up with my own words of wisdom to share with my son

My son just graduated from college, and his commencement was great.

I mean, the ceremony was pretty good, and gathering with family came with all the usual joys and strains. My one regret is that I didn’t get one of those “proud dad” school sweatshirts. I saw one in the university bookstore, and my first thought was “that’s something old people wear.” And I can’t possibly be that old yet, can I?

Mostly, it was great because he seems happy, and as a parent, that’s what I will always wish for him.

Throughout the ceremony, speakers shared remarks similar to what you’ll hear at just about every graduation — praise for the graduates’ hard work, thoughts about new chapters and continuing journeys, and a challenge to seize the moment and strive for greatness on whatever path they’ve chosen.

I was trying to come up with my own words of wisdom to share with my son. I thought about the most memorable advice I have received over the years, and the best I could come up with was when my college track coach told me I needed to get my head out of my rear end.

So instead of advice for my son and all the graduates, I’m going to share some unsolicited advice for everyone else: The best time to give advice is to wait until someone asks for it.

In a perfect world, we’d all listen to our elders. We’d learn from their experience, and live a life of happiness and bliss.

But I’ll paraphrase a quote I’ve seen attributed to Mark Twain, Will Rogers, and others: Making good decisions comes from experience, and experience comes from making bad ones.

After all, how many of us, when told the stove is hot, still put our hand on it to find out for ourselves?

So, while it might not be the most memorable, waiting until your advice is requested is the most fulfilling.

It can be excruciatingly hard to wait to give advice until it’s actually been requested, to watch someone fumble around in the dark when you know where the light switch is.

I understand the irony of advising you to wait to be asked before offering your advice, and I’ve had the experience of just a few years of my kids mostly ignoring my suggestions. I was also more grateful to have my parents step back and say “nice job” about the person my son has grown into, and much less grateful for the unsolicited health and wellness suggestions. (Yes, I know I’m getting older. I don’t need them to remind me — I’m still thinking about getting one of those “proud dad” sweatshirts.)

Congratulations to all the graduates. I hope you are able to learn and grow from your successes as well as your mistakes. And I hope that someday, when you’ve burned your fingers on a hot stove a couple of times and could use a little advice, you’ll ask.

Until then, I’ll just keep it to myself.

Will Morrow lives in Kenai. Email him at willmorrow2015@gmail.com.

More in Life

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
A copy of “People, Paths, and Places: The Frontier History of Moose Pass, Alaska” stands in sunlight in Soldotna on Friday.
Off the Shelf: Community history project a colorful portrait of hometown

The book features the work of students at Moose Pass School and integrates further stories pulled from a community newspaper

The Anchorage Bowl Chamber Orchestra performs. (Photo courtesy Anchorage Bowl Chamber Orchestra)
Anchorage orchestra group to visit Kenai Peninsula for 10th annual tour

Anchorage Bowl Chamber Orchestra will play four shows from May 30 to June 2

File
Minister’s Message: Boasting only in Christ and the Cross

The Reverend Billy Graham advised every president since Truman during his lifetime

Corn cheese is served alongside grilled beef, kimchi and lettuce. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Planning barbecue with all the bells and whistles

Expect kimchi, lots of side dishes, piles of rice, marinated meat for the flame and cold fruit for dessert

Noa (voiced by Owen Teague) in 20th Century Studios’ “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.” (Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios)
On the Screen: New ‘Planet of the Apes’ expands, brings new ideas to franchise universe

“Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” tells a story that feels more rooted in fantasy than the post-apocalypse vibe of its predecessors

A mural depicting imagery and iconography of Kenai brightens the entryway of the Walmart in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, May 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Visible art raises people’s spirits’

Local artist’s mural introduced as part of Walmart renovations

Former North Kenai resident George Coe Dudley, seen here during the winter of 1950-51, was a hard-drinking man. His messy funeral in 1967 in Kenai echoed his lifestyle. (Photo courtesy of Al Hershberger)
This parting was not sweet sorrow — Part 1

“Dudley was an easy-going, laid-back sort of guy, always laughing and joking, as well as hard drinking.”

The Ladies of the Pacific lead a hula demonstration as part of Aloha Vibes at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Saturday. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Diamond Dance’s ‘Aloha Vibes’ brings together music, movement and celebration

The project’s all-company showcase was only one of several attractions filling the space as part of the group’s annual event

English muffins are surprisingly easy to make and so much better fresh. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Special breakfast for a special day

Eggs Benedict are made even more delicious with homemade English muffins

Most Read