How to Influence the Clueless

shrinbks-links-photo1
Bringing you the best of mental health every week.

I got Clueless 101: A Life Manual for for Millennials to review and was thinking of re-gifting it to a millennial as a graduation present. It’s replete with visual aides and jam packed with helpful practical advice on everything from leasing an apartment to charting a life course. What could be a better gift from an uncle than 137 pages of unsolicited advice?

Is re-gifting OK? Come to think of it, which is better, to give something they want or something they need?

I looked through Clueless 101 to see if there’s a section on gifts. There is not.

51vtccfo3al-_ac_us160_The author, J Ronald Adair, writes in the introduction that he needed to write Clueless 101 because the parents of the Millennial Generation were the Hippies. He says these hippies repudiated the values and knowledge of previous generations, thereby breaking the links to the wisdom of the elders and leaving their children, the Millennials, bereft of good advice. Oh, they get advice from their hippie parents; but, he warns, advice from hippies is not good advice.

As an aging hippie, myself, I object. Sure, we gave many of the values of our parent’s generation, the vaunted Greatest Generation, the old heave ho. They brought us Vietnam, rampant materialism, sexual repression, mindless conformity, sexism, racism, the destruction of the natural environment, and the specter of nuclear war. We were right to turn our backs on all that, to the extent that we have.

Advice from an older generation is often nothing more than advice on how to live in a world that no longer exists; but some things are eternal, like what makes the best gifts. Something they want or something they need? What would my parents say?

I don’t know what they would say, but I know what they did. They gave me what I wanted, everything I wanted. Christmases were spectacular. But one year, they did give me something I needed, but didn’t know I wanted. They gave me a book of advice about how to live in the real world. That year, I might have been thirteen, I received a brand new copy of Dale Carnage’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.

417yi2ktl-_sx314_bo1204203200_Needless to say, I was not thrilled; I was embarrassed, horrified that they thought I needed advice on having friends, angry they would give me that book. I tossed it aside and went on to look for what I wanted; that year it might have been ski equipment.

I got the ski equipment, but it was two years till it snowed. Meanwhile, I reluctantly read Dale Carnage’s book. I never would have wanted to admit it to my parents then, but I learned a lot from that book. In fact, time has revealed that it may have been the best present I ever got. What did Carnage say that was so important? He said that, if you want to win friends and influence people, you have to listen to them.

I looked through Clueless 101 to see what Adair’s advice would be on friends. There’s nothing about any kind of relationship. What millennial, what human being, doesn’t need advice on relationships?

The moral of the story, I guess, is that getting something you need is better than getting something you want, even if it’s something you don’t think you need. Therefore, I’ll give Carnage’s book to my millennial. But first, I’ll listen to him.

Will I also give him Clueless 101?

No, he’ll know how to look that stuff up on the internet.