Pearls of wisdom: why the younger generation want your advice

Does it seem you are endlessly dispensing pearls of wisdom to your children and grandchildren, only to find your gold nuggets of experience and truth are going in one ear and out the other?

Or worse. Perhaps you may have even caught them Googling for sage advice, typing things such as “the meaning of life”, “finding true love” or even “recipe for Grandma’s pie” (oh the horror!).

So, just when you thought the younger generation would be forever lost in the digital world, a new survey has revealed that the kids were listening after all.

A survey by Australian Hearing asked 1,000 adults about their sources of advice and found that nine out of 10 people still turn to their grandparents and other older folk for life advice. Advice about life philosophies, social etiquette and family relationships topped the list.

Top 10 pearls of wisdom
According to the survey, Australians’ favourite piece of advice from the more mature segment of the population is: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

In order of most votes, the top pearls of wisdom are:

  1. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
  2. Good manners don’t cost a thing.
  3. Do unto others what you would like them to do to you.
  4. Money can’t buy you happiness.
  5. Practice makes perfect.
  6. You have to take the good with the bad.
  7. A smile will get you a long way.
  8. Life’s about balance.
  9. There’s no such word as can’t.
  10. What goes up, must come down.

Sage but not stylish
When it comes to life’s lessons, it seems nothing beats real experience. Yet according to the Australian Hearing survey, older folk are not the go-to gurus for travel, beauty or fashion advice.

And yet, who started wearing miniskirts during the Swinging ‘60s or thought Jackie Kennedy was a style icon? Perhaps the people surveyed hadn’t heard of the ever-so-stylish centenarian Ruth Coban, who features in the blog Advanced Style.

Ruth’s life and style advice include practising Pilates at least once a week, investing in quality pieces (“they never go out of style,” she says), dressing up everyday (“I don’t wear blue jeans”) and taking care of your skin.

Ari Seth

Image source: Advanced Style / Photograph by Ari Seth Cohen.

Or perhaps they are yet to discover Dolce & Gabbana’s 2015 summer fashion line-up or Louis Vuitton’s Heritage range – two fashion campaigns proving age is just a number.

Or maybe, just maybe, they haven’t met anyone quite like these centenarians who tell it like it is for a 2015 Dodge Superbowl advertisement (below).

Strange advice
Interestingly, about one-third of the people surveyed admitted to having received “strange advice” from an oldster. They explained that this was due to hearing difficulties experienced by the person giving the advice.

Australian Hearing’s Principal Audiologist, Emma Scanlan, isn’t surprised by the findings. “If you struggle to hear what is being said, it is difficult to offer sound counsel to your loved ones,” Scanlan said.

So, what exactly was the strange advice that was given? The survey didn’t reveal any wacky pearls of wisdom, but Reddit – a user-generated news and entertainment site – asked 60-year-olds about giving advice to younger people, with some interesting results.

“Knees are important”, “Brush teeth in the shower” and “Life is like a bank account” are some of the pearlers. Strange or sage? Whatever your thoughts are on the matter, it could be time to get your hearing checked.

For more info about hearing checks, contact Australian Hearing services on 131 797 or visit Australian hearing.


What’s the one piece of advice you would share with the younger generation? Tell us in the comment section.