Guidance: It’s Meaning and Importance
Meaning of Guidance.
Guidance means advising and supporting someone in a certain aspect of their life. The word ‘guidance’ comes from the Old French verb ‘guier’. This verb means ‘to guide someone’ or ‘to lead someone’. The word guidance entered the English language in the 1530s.
Guidance is different from commanding someone to do things or telling them exactly what they must do. Guidance is a more gentle way of providing information and support so that people can choose for themselves what they want to do.
Think of a guide taking people on a countryside walk. The guide does not frogmarch people around the countryside but rather uses their expertise and knowledge of the area to show them the best routes. People can follow the guide if they wish (indeed it would be sensible to do so) and listen to the guide’s explanations of sights that they see on the way. But, they do not have to do this: they are not being forced to do so.
Importance of Guidance.
1. Sharing expertise.
When we accept another person’s guidance, we get to make use of their expertise and life experience. Having this extra information can be very useful to us when we need to make decisions about our life.
One type of guidance is therapeutic guidance. For example, if someone is feeling stressed or has a mental health condition, they can visit a counselor to ask for their guidance. Being supported by a counselor to understand our own situation and what options we have to make it better is something very powerful. The counselor’s guidance is so important for enabling us to achieve better mental health.
In the educational context, guidance can be absolutely crucial to helping us to learn. Though they do teach us facts and figures, teachers also guide us towards becoming researchers in our own right. A good teacher will be able to provide guidance about how to follow our own interests and how to discover new facts for ourselves.
Sometimes, unfortunately, we have issues with our romantic relationships. And then, very often, we seek the guidance of a friend or loved one. This is a very smart thing to do because very often our loved ones can provide some much needed support and a different perspective on our feelings. Though we should probably be wary of loved ones who try and tell us what to do in our romantic lives, a friend can provide valued guidance for us simply by listening to our problems and supporting us as we talk them through.
5. Financial matters.
Not all of us have top notch financial expertise. Asking for guidance from an expert in financial matters is a very good idea if we want to ensure that we make the most of our savings, invest our money wisely and so on. Nevertheless, we should never allow ourselves to be pressured in to making financial decisions that we are not comfortable with. Guidance is there as a guideline rather than a command to be followed whether we want to or not!
6. The law.
When it comes to legal matters, the guidance of a legal professional will help to ensure that we stay on the straight and narrow. If we are setting up a new company, for example, it is definitely worth our while to ask a legal professional for advice on complying with taxation law. This is just one example of how seeking legal guidance will help us to make the right decisions.
7. Visiting a new city.
When we are traveling, locals can provide us with very valuable information and guidance about what to eat, where to visit and how to get around. We might get this guidance more officially through a tour guide, or we may do it informally by asking around in the area or getting in touch with friends who have lived or traveled in the area that we are visiting.
8. In the workplace.
Workplaces tend to include both very experienced staff members and people who are just starting out. New employees can get so many benefits from asking for the help and guidance of people who have been working at a company for a long time. Whether it is something as simple as showing them where the coffee machine is or how the IT system works, or something that involves some more sustained mentoring throughout their career, older employees can provide valuable guidance to newcomers.
9. Growing up.
As we are growing up, our beliefs and personalities are being formed. And, one of the key ways in which this happens is in response to guidance from our parents. A key role of parents is to provide moral guidance to their kids, teaching them the difference between right and wrong and always encouraging them to do the right thing. The guidance that we get from our parents can shape our personalities right in to adulthood and can really stay with us for life.
10. Helping others.
Throughout our lives, we will have plenty of opportunities to provide others with guidance. This is a brilliant way to help out other people, and also to give something back to the world in recognition for all of the guidance that we have received ourselves. It is definitely worth thinking about what our areas of skill and expertise are so that we know where best to offer guidance. There is no point in offering guidance to someone on engineering if we are not trained in this subject, for example! But, whether we are a good listener when friends have relationship issues, or whether we are great at helping people to make the most of their finances, we all have some guidance to give to spread some light in the world.
Offering guidance is a key example of the way in which human beings help each other out on a daily basis. Remember, guidance is all about preserving the other person’s autonomy: we give them guidance so that they can make a well informed decision that is best both for themselves and for those around them. What areas of life might you need guidance in right now? Where might you be able to find the guidance that you need?