Although the vocational aspect has always been stressed, guidance has gone far beyond this; it is now concerned with the entire individual, in all aspects of his life, and with the interrelation between the individual and society. It helps youth to attain a life that is individually satisfying and socially effective. When we stress the fact that everyone, at one time or another may be in need of guidance, we must be sure that we understand to thoroughly just what it is that he needs and should have made available for his use. Guidance is not giving directions.
It is not the imposition of one person’s point of view upon another person. It is not making decisions for an individual, which he should make for himself. It is not carrying the burdens of another’s life. Shirley Hamrin’s definition of guidance as “helping john to see through himself in order that he may see himself through” is a simple and practical but challenging concept of guidance. This statement represents much more than a facile arrangement of words. Once the guidance worker has led an individual to see the extent of his guidance needs, any further help given him in solving his difficulties or problems requires patience, understanding, and experience combined with training, if the individual is to receive the kind and amount of assistance that will bring about desirable adjustment.
Whenever a person is aided directly or indirectly by another person in gaining in knowledge, emotional fitness, mental acuity or stability, social and civic adjustment or occupational efficiency and job satisfaction, guidance of one kind or another is functioning. It will be noted that guidance, thus conceived, increases the individual’s power to think and perform. It should not be considered an activity having for its purpose the lessening of an individual’s ability to act independently or to follow his own initiative. Guidance is operating whenever a child, adolescent, or adult is helped in any way by another person or persons to come to a decision, improve his behaviour, or change his attitude concerning people or things. Adults are constantly guiding the life of a young person, either by precept or by example. This is accomplished many times without specific purpose or even awareness on the part of the person who is responsible for the guidance. The young person who has benefited from his association with a fine adult, who has imitated his behaviour, or who has been influenced by his words may be equally unaware of the eventual effect upon him of what he has observed or heard.