Unless you happen to be one of the brainless zombies lurching through real life or on the movie screen, every day presents new opportunities to learn and grow.

It makes sense that the most obvious people to teach us life lessons are our parents, and sometimes other relatives contribute as well. Mind you, not all the lessons we learn at the paternal or maternal knee are uplifting. Some of their teachings may fall into the I-never-want-to-be-like-that category. For example, if a parent has addiction issues, the lesson is: do not follow in his or her footsteps.

Above all else, we must remember parents are human and humans are imperfect beings. If you are honest, you must admit that it is probably a good thing humans are not perfect. Too much perfection can be both daunting and boring. Let’s save perfection for the afterlife. It is advisable to hold fast to the more flawed here and now, and learn to deal with whatever life throws your way. Flaws can be annoying as well as entertaining, which is why we cherish the gift of humor. Without humor, a person is almost irredeemably lost.

Now, let’s look at some life lessons folks have learned, for better or for worse.

How many fathers learned too late that they missed out on the opportunity of bonding with their young children? The reason many guys hold back is that little humans are scary. Many a male can and will face down an enemy on a battlefield, whether the battlefield is real or simply the battlefield of life. But dealing with children is uncharted territory not only for fathers but mothers as well.

Children make adults feel vulnerable and unsure. But instead of backing off until the kids are older and less daunting, fathers like Hubby’s father made time for their children. He often took the four children fishing or found other ways to spend time with them and in the process gave them priceless memories.

Both Hubby’s and my father taught their children the value of hard work. They did whatever it took to provide for their families, even if the work available only paid $1 a day. Neither man’s DNA allowed for sitting back, taking handouts or moaning about the unfairness of life.

Another bit of advice from Hubby’s father, “Don’t let anyone run over you.” Wise counsel because if a vehicle runs over you, you are covered in bruises or worse. But what he meant was to stand up for yourself and for those who may need your strength.

Wisdom, whether practical or intellectual, is a great gift.

Some life lessons are learned the hard way. For example, losing your temper at work and quitting your job without a backup plan is not recommended. However, an IT guy working at a local radio station did just that. He became so upset with his boss that he quit his job in the middle of a workday. IT guys are crucial to the smooth operation of most companies, and radio stations are no exception. IT guys make certain everything functions and the programs go on the air without noticeable glitches.

We can only surmise the lesson he learned or we hope he learned was to wait until the end of the day to tender his resignation. No! Wait!

What we hope he learned is to control his temper in the future. But stupid behavior cannot be undone. Therefore, we must prepare for contingencies or live with the consequences, which is why we have birth control.

Some lessons are subliminal and how we respond when those lessons bubble to the surface can be our downfall or our salvation. All the lessons we learn whether from our parents or by living and observing the world’s inhabitants are that the choices we make are ours alone.

Life can be a slippery slope, and we need the cleats of a good foundation to navigate the journey.


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