Almost every important lesson that I have learned in my life, I’ve had to learn for myself. This is not because I was lacking sufficient parental guidance or advice from teachers and other mentors. It was because I was so stubborn that I had to learn it for myself!
I remember being about six years old and walking through a clover patch. My daddy had warned me about honey bees and walking through those patches without shoes. But it wasn’t until I stepped down on one of those clovers and felt the worst pain that I had experienced in my six years that I understood what my daddy was talking about. I certainly haven’t walked barefoot through a clover patch since that day.
The same thing happened when my mom warn me not to touch the outside of the oven while she was cooking. I have a scar on my right ring finger just below my knuckle where I tested just how hot the stove was.
Why must we learn things the hard way? Why must we experience the consequences that others have warned up about? I think it could be stubborn pride. Or maybe we just don’t trust others’ judgments about particular situations. Perhaps, we think we know best. Or maybe we just want to try things out for ourselves to see if we get the same result.
I started thinking about all the lessons learned in my life when I injured my knees recently. I had read all the warnings about runners overdoing it when they first begin, but I loved my new sport and I didn’t want to slow down. On New Year’s Day, after dancing for several hours on New Year’s Eve, I went out for my daily run. Even though every step hurt my knees, I kept going. After my run, I could barely walk and it took three weeks of recovery for me to run again. Lesson learned. I could’ve listened to my running coach, my husband, or the plethora of books and magazines that I’ve read which warned me not to run when I felt any pain. But I didn’t listen.
My new resolution is to start heeding other’s warnings. I’m not only going to listen to other’s advice, I’m going to carefully consider it before I proceed. This is my new mantra: Heed the advice of others who know more about a particular situation than I do.