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  • The Bolton News


The old man is sitting on his front porch is his favorite rocking chair and talking to a his freshly minted twenty-one-year-old grandson – attempting to encourage him to think things over clearly before deciding. To make decisions for his life based on clear facts, a living God, and real love. Instead of impulse, illogical dreams, and irrational hopes.

He was trying to get that young man to realize that an older person has already walked a lot of roads and seen an enormous amount of heartache and pitfalls. Pitfalls that an inexperienced walker who can’t see around the bend can avoid. But only if he is willing to listen to the voice of someone who has already fallen many times, and had to painfully pick himself back up and limp on down the road.

But, as is very predictable, the young energetic rabbit isn’t eager to sit and listen to the advice of the old tortoise. He wants to race down the roads himself, to make his own way, to prove to himself and to the world that he is able, intelligent, and clever. He is convinced that he will be successful at avoiding all the heartache the old man keeps talking about. And arrogantly and naively believes that he is the master of his own fate.

Nobody is going to tell him how to live his life.

As he stands and begins making noises to leave, the old man glares exasperatedly and finally attempts to yell in a wheezing, weak voice.

“Hey, son! I’m not just sittin’ here flappin’ my gums at ya for the fun of it! You got a lot of hard life in front of ya. I done been there, and I already know whut it’s is gonna cost ya! Ya need to sit back down and listen ta’ me, cuz believe me, ya don’t want to walk some of those roads that I can see ahead of ya! So jest shut up and sit back down and listen ta’ me!”

You already have a pretty clear idea of how the conversation went from that point. The old man sitting there in his rocking chair, shaking with frustration and anger while he tries to yell loud enough to be heard by the retreating figure of his grandson, who is now almost jogging to get to his sports car and make a quick getaway.

The old hairy saying is still true; ‘You can listen and learn, or you can live and learn – but you WILL learn.’ But another saying is also true: ‘Rare is the person who is willing to learn by listening to someone who has already fallen way too many times.’

Most of us go at it the hardest way possible. We come to a steep cliff, think about it for a little while, impulsively make an ill-informed decision, close our eyes and leap. Just hoping for the best.

Stupid. There are better ways.



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