I was reading another blogger's post recently in which the author shared an experience where they felt that at one moment, frozen in time(many years ago), they had made a decision. An important, life altering kind of decision which went against the advice they received at the time from others and more importantly went against that little voice in their head which was tugging them in a different direction. And in that moment....at that single moment in time....a huge part of the path their future life would take was formed. If they had only followed that faint little voice back then.....oh what a different life they might have today. A better life? Maybe. But who's to say? I have a moment in my life just like this. Where a single event occurred, and I was faced with a decision which once made ,definitely had a big effect on where I am today. While I do feel that I may have made the wrong choice in that moment and it is one of only a few regrets I have in my life. I do not often dwell on it. I firmly believe that I am certainly where God wanted me to be right now. But after reading the other post, I came to one important realization after all of these years about my experience . "My decision" had in fact been made, based on the advice I received from a teacher. Someone I trusted and looked up to. This person , I am sure, felt that they were trying to be helpful to me at the time. And while their advice was not entirely off base. They failed to take into consideration some important ramifications which could occur if that advice was taken. Basically, this person, in a way... "changed my life". And so I feel the need to share....A bit of advice about giving advice. And since you can see by now that I am long winded today....let me start from the beginning. When I was in the 7th grade in school, I decided to learn to play an instrument. So I joined the band. But I was a little late in making this decision and all of the sections in the band were already pretty full with other students. So I was given 2 choices of instrument to play. I could play the drums....or.....I could play something I had never even heard of called the baritone. Well you have to have the picture squarely in your head of what this meant. I was a girl. And one who could stand under a clothesline in the rain and stay dry. At least that's what I was told plenty of times. All of the students in the drum section(back then) were boys. All of the students in the baritone section? That's right .....boys. And in case you, too, have never heard of the baritone.....it is basically a baby tuba. Which means it is a H-U-G-E instrument! And it so happens to be the one I chose. For the next 5 years through junior high and high school, everywhere that I went....it went too! I still have the calluses on my palms today from carrying that monstrosity around. But...it actually grew on me. I became the best darned female baritone player in the state at the time. I won lots of awards, was written about in several newspaper articles, and was included in the national musical directory book "Who's Who In Music" my graduating year in high school. I was then offered 3 scholarships in Music by Universities in my home state. I began my college adventure that fall as most newly emancipated young adults do with much excitement , anticipation and just a bit of nervousness thrown in for good measure. I was a Music major and all seemed right with the world. But then one day...out of the blue...it happened. That one moment in time....which changed ....everything!! My private music instructor(The "teacher" I referred to earlier) stopped me after a lesson one day. He said to me..."You are a very talented musician." " But I see that you are majoring in Music performance." " Have you considered how you will use this degree to earn a living after college?" "ON this particular instrument?" " The Baritone." " They aren't really used in symphonies, it is primarily a marching band instrument." "Odds of becoming an accomplished artist like Wynton Marsalis, on trumpet or Kenny G on sax are stacked against you." " You might ought to consider changing your major." And there it was....like a ton of bricks. With that 1 single piece of advice....my whole world crumbled before my eyes. All of the years I had spent on that instrument, in music, working for a career in music. In shambles! He was right. I had no idea ...how...I would make a living in this field. I hadn't really ever given it much thought. All I knew in that moment... was I couldn't imagine starting ALL over...on yet another instrument. And I had no idea what ...if any other field of study I might have any interest in. SO......I QUIT! That's right. I quit the instrument and I quit school. I forfeited my scholarship. And went to work full time at ....Taco Hell. OH YEAH. And all these years later, Do I blame that teacher for my decision to quit school? No. That was my mistake...all on my own...my biggest regret in life. But....I do wish that he had taken a closer look at the effect that this piece of advice might have ....before it came spewing from his mouth. If he was going to give such a life altering opinion about my future, he could have done a little follow up and provided further direction...as a teacher. But he left me hanging! And this is my advice to anyone who cares...If you give advice to someone...especially if you are a teacher, be careful what you say! Your advice may have a bigger, broader effect than you may even realize. Sometimes it is necessary to follow up on advice that has been given. And sometimes it should not be given at all. Now in case you are wondering......No! I did not retire as an employee of a fast food chain. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I had a long, successful career in the aviation industry for many years. And now I am mom. A career in it's own rite. But whether I am giving advice to my children or someone else, maybe even in the blogging world, I will at the very least take my own advice and tread carefully!
SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY I possess good advice and competence; I have understanding and strength. PROVERBS 8: 14