My Dad gives pretty good advice, and he gives it in the manner of a 1950s sitcom Dad: He spends the majority of the episode peacefully folding and unfolding the newspaper, smiling at everyone, watching television, and conversing with the neighbors, and then, in the 27th minute of the half hour, he delivers a little homily. And then promptly goes back to his puttering.
Here’s an example.
I’m sort of a high strung person, as you may have gathered. This is okay most of the time. I get a lot done, generally speaking, and I have a lot of energy, so I’m fun at parties. Unfortunately, it makes me next to impossible to live with when I don’t get my way. Win some, lose some, blah blah blah.
A little while ago, I was discussing some Minor Life Disappointment with my father, in my usual mature, flexible and considered fashion. My end of the conversation, therefore, went something like this: “I just don’t UNDERSTAND why it won’t WORK when I put in so much TIME and I want it SO MUCH and it’s NOT FAIR and GIMME GIMME GIMME and MINE MINE MINE and ME ME ME.”
Dad’s end of the conversation, also typically, went like this: “Yes, it’s upsetting. Aw. No, I wouldn’t that either. Definitely not. Poor kid. Yes, it’s upsetting. Aw.”
We went back and forth like this for about half an hour, until I washed up on this conversational shoal: “And the worst of it is … well, don’t you think a person should be able to handle this sort of thing, ha ha, better than I currently am? I mean, it just strikes me that I’m awfully exercised over this. When no one is actually beating me with a stick and I’m not starving or living in a yurt somewhere.”
And Dad said: “Yes, that’s true. But, you know, most successful people have, ah, a certain stubbornness. However: You might have to get used to losing now and again, eventually.”
And … scene!