What is the best advice your parent has ever given you? If there is anything, parents love to give advice. Often unsolicited and sometimes absolutely needed, advice from parents can be really helpful. Sometimes there can be so many of them that it is hard to remember, and other times, there is that one that sticks with you and shapes the way you navigate the world.

Below 7 people share advice from parents they cannot forget, perhaps this will bring back some long lost memories.

Arit, 38

The best advice I got from my father – which my mother also says to me all the time – was “If you don’t like it, remember you can always come home.” I think he said this when I was starting university or something like that. One big issue with life journeys is the fear of not completing. So even when we’re overwhelmed or it’s no longer the best choice, we stay. Remembering that I could always come home kept me going then and keeps me going now. A few days ago, my friend said it to me in relation to a new venture and I felt that warmth and safety all over again.

Ayo, 16

The advice from parents I cannot forget was from my mum who told me that “People only want to be associated with smart students and rich people.” That has shaped everything I think of now.  It has also helped me whenever I’m in school and whenever I have money. I remember the people around are only there for the benefits they can get.

Vivian, 28

My father is a very good man. A very good human, in public and behind closed doors. Growing up, he’d always tell me “be yourself”. You know the advice they give when you’re going to school. Yeah, so he started telling me that from secondary school, but I never understood what it meant. At first, I felt the advice was funny because who else am I supposed to be? The older I got, I’d think ‘how can I be myself when I don’t even know who I am?’. He told me this every single time I had to leave home or go somewhere new, which is a lot of times because I moved around a lot. Anyway, the advice began to make sense to me just last year. I realized I had a tendency to absorb thoughts, opinions, and advice while disregarding my own. I’d bend myself into pretzels to be what I thought people needed, I was a people pleaser raised to power GEJ.  I couldn’t account for any major decisions to my original thoughts. 

I concluded that who I am is the sum of my independent decisions and choices (as independent as socialization permits anyway). And to become my authentic self, I had to make independent choices and live with the consequences, knowing it was all me. And now, being myself has a new meaning as I now make my own decisions and gain new insight into who I am. For the first time since I can remember, I’m being myself, which it turns out that I’m a coconut head. This new me has helped me make better decisions in my personal and professional life, which has, in turn, helped me grow so much in my competence, leadership, and overall relationships.

Yaw, 23

Every time I start a new job or internship, my father always tells me to not go overboard or overdo. He tells me to do the bare minimum, because people will use you if they know what you can do, especially as a young student. It has helped me immensely to be honest. Though I don’t do the bare minimum, I don’t avail myself too much to be used anyhow and it guides my relationship with employers and employment arrangements.

Nnaya, 27

My Mum tells me, “Never look at another persons own out there and think that you don’t have anything , there are people who are fasting and praying to be where you are right now, don’t rush to accumulate wealth so that you don’t die young , take it easy and you’d enjoy a long happy life.” That really didn’t hit me until 2 years ago after I discovered my health status. Befpore then, I was always complaining and I just found myself on a roller coaster of working myself off just to fight off inner demons and always second guessing and comparing myself with others people. I wasn’t even comfortable with my body, but the moment I remembered her words and advice, that was a turning point for me. I started to see and take life differently and it has positively affected my work and social life. I walk into a room feeling blessed and highly favored already and understand that it is okay when I don’t get something I wanted.

Dan, 24

My dad’s advice toe me in Secondary school was”Go to Art Class. You’re the only boy I know that can read an 800page novel in less than a day”. I heeded it and today I’m a lawyer. Being in Arts class felt alright. I got to improve my writing skills and learn elocution but before that, I had intended to head to Science class. In my school, we kinda did all the subjects in SS1 first term to determine what class would be right fit for you. And despite performing badly in all the science subjects and passing all the Art subjects, I was still trying to do stronghead and go to science class. It was my dad who had been observing all along that pointed out the fact that I’d be better as an Arts student and that I didn’t like maths anyway.

Liz, 23

So I won’t say this is the best, but this is the one I can think of right now. It’s “Always do what makes you happy, people will always talk.” And it was my mum that gave me that advice. When I was at a lower level in school and wanted to change my course, I worried about what people would say but when I told her she asked me to go ahead and change it. She was like, if I change it, people will talk and even if I don’t change it and I fail, people will still talk and even though I didn’t change it, that has stuck with me. 



Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.