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As I get older, I’m amazed how much tougher I have gotten. I don’t look to show off how tough I can be but when the time comes, I can handle things I would’ve thought twice about in my youth. When I was younger, I had more muscle and less brains. Now I have less muscle but my wisdom has shown me how to use the gift of strength without being muscle bound. I was never a muscle bound boy, let’s get that straight right now but I did have muscle showing and I was fairly strong.
The difference I guess between then and now is knowing how to use my body and put aside the pain I once wouldn’t have been able to do. If I come across a situation that should be a two man job but I am alone, I can muster up the strength to get the job done. I never could understand how older men with frail looking body’s could show so much strength when needed. I now understand how this can be, as I am now an older man.
Explaining this phenomenon would be near to impossible for me to do but I’m going to try to do just that as simply as possible. When we are young, we go at a situation like a bull in a china shop. As we mature, we gain what only can be possible through years of training and experience. This is of course wisdom. Wisdom cannot be taught, it has to be earned through many victories as well as failures. Most of all it’s the failures that teach us the most.
Young, dumb and full of muscles will ultimately get you injured and here lies the lesson, “don’t do it that way again!” Alas, wisdom is starting to take hold in that thick skull. Time and time again, hurting one’s self by picking something up the wrong way or rushing into something before thinking about the situation you are putting yourself into is gaining muscle strains and bruising. Once again I must say this is good training for later in life when the muscles are no longer one of your greatest assets. You now must use the wisdom that has come from the mistakes of the past.
I guess what I’m trying real hard to get across to you is wisdom is strength in more ways than you can imagine and you will need this great asset when your body starts to show the wear and tear that you have put it through all those years gone by. When your children have grown up and left the household, you will still need to do some of the back breaking work that was there when you had your children to help. Unless you have a lot of money to hire somebody whenever you need to replace that refrigerator, stove, couch or whatever it is that takes strength to move, you must take care of it yourself along with the wisdom you have gained through the years.
When the time comes and you have to push the love seat up the stairs to the second floor where your wife would like to have it in the spare room, you just do it! When your children come to visit and see what you have done, well, you my friend will look like Superman to them. And all it took was a small dose of wisdom and knowing how to use leverage to get the task done. When your children ask how you did it, you can simply smile and say it was your inner brute strength! Let them figure it out when they get to be your age, don’t spoil the wisdom trail they must follow to get where you are. Besides, they haven’t gained the wisdom you have yet to understand it anyway. If you try to explain it to them, they either won’t listen or would think your off your rocker.
Enjoy your age and the wisdom you have gained along the way. You deserve being thought of as Superman by your children. Take care, God bless and Remember, we are all in this together.
Does the title of this post mean anything to you? Are you talking just to hear yourself or are you using knowledge and wisdom to teach others lessons you have learned? What are their reactions to what you are telling them? Are they showing interest, anger, boredom or amusement to the words flowing so frequently from that hole in your face? I hope if it’s amusement, you are telling a good joke. These are some hard questions to ask one’s self. These are also questions that must be asked and answered if you want to improve who you are as well as what others think of you. What you share using your words can make or break the conversation you are engaging in. These words can and usually will help the other person or persons decide what your credibility is with the subject matter at hand. The person patiently listening to the conversation between the others and not interrupting usually looks like the most intelligent person in the room. Remember the saying, “two ears and one mouth”. In other words, we need to listen twice as much as we talk to ever become a wise person.
I am just now learning to take this advice to heart and the more I do, the more I believe this is truth. I myself, like many others, love to talk and find it difficult to listen to others without putting in my two cents. These are terrible habits and ones that I am working through day by day, hour by hour and minute by minute. I challenge you to take part in this quest with me and see where it might take us together.
Here is a good test that shows how well we are listening. If you are arguing with the people on your television set, you want or need to hear your thoughts and are now missing the rest of the story through your own voice. Ladies, don’t tell me I’m crazy when you are involved in a conversation with the people you are watching like them rich housewives in whatever city they are in this season and Men, you are yelling at the refs during a sporting event all on the big box sitting on a stand in your living room! I am guilty of the second one. Guess what? It’s on television and they can’t hear you through the glass!
Let’s put this on the other person and away from us for a minute. If you are at the movies and someone is always talking during the movie, it’s hard to pay attention isn’t it? How about somebody asking what just happened and by the time you get through explaining what happened, you just missed the next scene and now you too are lost. I think this is why a very smart person invented the pause button for us to use at home but when watching on the big screen at the theater, you’re not able to pause. If you miss something, you either have to pay and watch it again or wait until it comes out on DVD so you can buy it and pause it at home. This of course is a win win for the movie industry but we just spent more than we originally anticipated. Our conversation can and will affect those around you as well as showing what kind of person you are.
It’s easy to see a person’s point of view by reading their thoughts they have written down but to learn someone’s view on things in conversation can and is quite difficult for most. Everyone has their own thoughts and points of view on everything we deal with in our lives day to day. Parents all have their own thoughts on how parenting should be done. Once you have passed your driver’s exam, you will put your own methods into play while driving. These are just two examples of the millions that could be put forth for this discussion. What I’m trying to say is we all have our own unique way of doing things that suits us and makes us comfortable in what we are doing. We also have a hard time understanding how others get by without using these same techniques we have proven to work for us.
Here’s the thing, being comfortable is not always the best way of achieving any task, but getting outside our comfort zone puts us into what we feel may be a danger zone and we show this in our everyday conversations. Someone may bring up a topic of how driving should be done and if they wear a badge, we will listen. Talking with the policeman that has just pulled you over commands a certain amount of attention paid without the argument you would rather use. Start to tell the officer how wrong they are and you will most assuredly end up with a big fat ticket to pay. However, talking about driving with your buddies and everyone in your group is an expert and none of you drive the same way.
Alas, telling another parent what they are doing wrong, may get you a fat lip unless you are a specialist in the field of parenting and the parents have made an appointment to see you in your office. I do believe that specialist in the parenting field should be parents themselves. Becoming a parent is one thing that can’t be taught unless you have been a parent yourself ( I will always stand by this ).
Ask yourself if you are talking just to be part of the conversation or do I have a true insight that I have learned and feel it is important enough to speak up and show my knowledge and wisdom of the subject being discussed. Listening without interrupting is a talent that few of us have accomplished in our lives. I am not part of those special few but I’m working on it. Another part that is hard to learn is dealing with someone whom believes they know everything. (We all know one of these people, heck, you may be one of them ). Even if you are the expert in the subject, sometimes it’s better to be quiet and let the other person ramble on. Dealing with people like these can just turn into a huge argument if you show where they are wrong. ( You can always go home and laugh about what they said later! ) If you happen to be one of those that knows everything about everything just remember this quote; “It is better to be thought of a fool then to open your mouth and remove all doubt“. These people that you just showed all your knowledge to, are going home for a good laugh if you are full of dung.
So when should we speak up and when should we keep our mouth shut, listen and maybe learn something? This is the quest I have been learning and inviting you to join in. Talking with your friends and just having a good time is great but if you are a baker at trade and know nothing about cars, telling an auto mechanic what to do if the transmission goes out…well, that’s just dumb! Same as the mechanic telling you ( the baker ) how to make a seven layer wedding cake. Where does your expertise lie? All of us have our special talents but none of us know everything! The ones that truly know the most, are those that can listen and not interrupt when spoken to. These special people have a grasp on many talents and not just one or maybe a couple as most of us do.
I am putting all of this in print, not to tell you your business but so maybe I can learn from some of you who have learned about these issues or are like me and are just now trying to learn this wisdom. As you read these words, ask yourself where you stand with this. If you can, help me and others learn the best way to know when to speak up and when to shut up, please share. This maybe a simple task for you but for most of us, it is a great mystery and learning curve that needs to be solved. I am all ears at this time and am really looking forward to your comments and advice. Thank you in advance and as always Remember, we are all in this together.
Growing up and learning from our elders is a hard thing to do. I was not unlike other teenagers. I had a hard time listening to others teaching me how to do things the smart way and not the hard way. My mother was and is still a great inspiration and influence in my life but when I was a teen, she couldn’t teach me anything because I wouldn’t listen. Later in life, the lessons she tried to teach me finally took hold and I was able to use the wisdom she tried to pound into my head earlier in life.
One of the great teachings that this wise woman was always trying to get into my head was how to use common sense when doing anything. “Don’t look at the whole project at once, take it one step at a time”, she would say. The best example I can come up with for this was cleaning my room and mowing the lawn. My room was like any other teenager’s room. It was usually a big mess. When she would tell me to clean it up, my first thought was “There goes my weekend!” My mom would remind me of how she always taught me to clean my room, even when I was much younger. I would hear her voice in the back of my head, “Don’t look at the whole thing, just start with one corner and clean that first.”
This process always worked even though I would never give her credit for it. I wouldn’t look at the whole room, instead I would put my focus solely on one corner. After that corner was clean, I would simply start on the next corner. It was amazing how well this worked out for me and within an hour, my room would be spotless. If I were to focus on the whole room, it would take much longer because of being overwhelmed by all the things that needed to be put back in place. I would be running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off.
This simple rule continued to help me in many things throughout my life. One saying says get the whole picture but using pieces instead, works better for me. Looking at the whole picture not only overwhelms me but creates a confusion that is hard to explain.
One of the places in Missouri that I grew up in was what I considered my childhood home. We lived in many different houses but this was the one that held and still holds my heart. It was in the countryside with a dirt road leading to it. The house my dad and mom had built was in a field that was once an alfalfa pasture sitting between to hillsides. They had decided to have the house built far off the dirt road, which gave us a huge front yard. We had ten acres and the front yard consisted of two of those acres. Guess who had to mow those two acres and the half acre in the back of the house which met up with the rest of the land used as a pasture for our animals? If you guessed me, you hit the nail on the head.
We did have a old riding lawn mower to mow this but it was still a hard job to accomplish. Starting early in the morning, it would take until nightfall to mow this hunk of land if I didn’t take too many breaks that is. This land was so fertil that this project would have to be done every other week except for winter when the snow would give me a break. Of course shoveling the driveway wasn’t fun either. The only way I could accomplish this great mowing job was to use my mom’s idea and take it one section at a time. If I were to look at the whole job all at once, I would’ve probably lost my mind. However, looking at one section at a time made the job alot easier. During the mowing, I could also look at what I had already done and see that I was making progress. The few times I tried to mow the whole thing in one shot seemed like I wasn’t getting anywhere fast. Even though the same amount of grass was being chopped, the difference in how I seen it was amazing.
I continued through life using this simple method and it has helped me get though many things in my life. No matter how big of a project I came upon, I could break it down and make it a simple thing to do. Even when crazy things happened, like a main water line breaking, I didn’t go crazy over the nightmare I was facing. I just broke it down to steps that needed to be taken and then took it one step at a time.
There is a saying that many of you may have heard before. It’s called the ‘K.I.S.S’ method. This is short for “Keep it simple stupid”. Using the break down method my mom taught me or as I like to call it “One nightmare at a time”, seems to work well withthe Kiss method. Any way you look at it, these two work hand in hand. They are both very good lessons to learn and will help you get through tough times as they have with me.
I remember going to boot camp with the Navy and keeping these terms in my mind. They helped me tremendously when it came to doing all that was required from me to make it without going crazy when so much was expected and it had to be exactly right to keep the Company Commander off my back. Even though I had a very smart mouth that caused me to do more push-ups then anybody else, when it came to my bunk and locker, mine was always perfect during inspections.
Once I graduated from boot camp and was stationed on my ship “USS Charleston LKA 113” I continued to use the lesson I had learned about looking at one piece of a job or problem at a time. Being that I was a Damage Control man on the ship and being trained in many different types of rescue, fire fighting, flood control and other such things, this simple lesson served me well. Even the times that we had actual damage happening, not just training for it, this lesson loomed large in the back of my mind just waiting for its grand appearance once again. It is true that training for such things to happen does help a great deal when the time comes. I just never knew how the training for such disasters actually was started back in my youth long before the dream of being a sailor had even crossed my mind. For those I served with, thank you for your service and thank you for all your help during the “Fork truck rodeo”. To others that were not there during this event, you missed one heck of a ride! I have said before that I would write about that event but the words are not there as of yet. Just to give you a taste of what that event was, it consisted of fire, flooding and loose fork trucks on board our ship during a hurricane all at the same time.
Once leaving the service, I became a over the road truck driver and seen things that screen writers for the movies would have a hard time coming up with. If they did write some of these things down, big movie stars would swear the public would never believe it unless it was written into a science fiction movie that is. To watch fifteen to twenty cars spinning out of control outside of Dallas Texas because someone lost a ladder out of the back of their pickup was absolutely crazy and terrifying, yet I drove through the middle of all them and watched the ladder stand on end next to me until I got passed it, then it went to bouncing around again. The only damage my rig received was a fine line towards the top part of my trailer from where the ladder barely touched it. The damage was almost like someone had taken a #2 pencil and drawn a perfect line down the side. It was so light that it would wipe off with a damp rag. Later that evening I seen a newscast of the big pileup of cars and big trucks alike this single ladder had caused. Once again, my training came back and I dodged one car at a time. Of course God was helping me steer at the time.
A few jobs in between and then my mining job began. Numerous times I thought for sure I would have a major accident driving a large haul truck out of control down a mud slide of a ramp. Time and time again my Mom’s voice would remind me in the back of my mind, “Remember son, one step at a time.” Time moves on but wisdom always wins out. No matter the situation you find yourself in, deal with the now and worry about later when it gets here. Don’t try to start a jigsaw puzzle with the last piece, work your way through the process and the final piece will fit in. Seeing the whole picture doesn’t count if you can’t see it one piece at a time. Thank you mom for sharing your wisdom with me and even when you thought I wasn’t listening, your words were building a picture in my mind. You have saved me from many failures by sharing your wisdom with me.
I hope reading this has meant as much to you as writing it has meant to me. God bless and as always; Remember, we are all in this together.
I want to dedicate this post to my Mom. I can’t thank you enough Mom for teaching me and sharing your wisdom with me. I know God will have a mansion waiting for you when you go to your Heavenly home.