The conversation was unexpected:
“I don’t know how to say this but you’re slipping,” my friend told me. “Last year, you were so much better. I don’t know what’s happened to you. You need to get your act together.”
This was a serious talk but did I mention that he said this to me when I was in the 3rd grade. This was a conversation between two eight year olds.
Looking back, I can laugh at a couple of kids having a very grown up discussion. Perhaps he was repeating or channeling something he had heard on TV as I think my grades were about the same as they always were and it wasn’t like we were at some intense crossroads in our lives.
Regardless of the source of his inspiration, I took two things away from the remarks:
It Take Courage To Speak Up: People usually will hold back when it comes to giving someone advice. It’s easier to say nothing but that doesn’t help the other person grow or change.
It’s very common for someone not to give a warning until it’s too late.
Advice Can Be Well Intentioned But Wrong: In the case of my friend, I considered his information but then dismissed it. For a kid, this was actually pretty smart but I didn’t know it at the time. I guess you could say that I stumbled into brilliance.
The funny thing is that for much of my life, I forgot that lesson. It can be very easy to pay too much attention to criticism in subjective situations. We carry around doubt like baggage and I’m talking about the baggage that doesn’t come with wheels.
At age eight, I hadn’t learned yet to listen to the doubting voices that can haunt our dreams and hold us back.