Life is full of lessons

Published 11:59 pm Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Life is all about lessons.

When we are toddlers, we learn not to touch things that are hot and not to talk back to our mothers.

As teens, we learn that $5 in gas isn’t near enough to get from Point A to Point B and back again and that we still shouldn’t talk back to our mothers.

But as adults and parents, the things we learn on a daily basis are mind-boggling.

When I first went off to college, I didn’t know how to balance a checkbook and anything outside of salads, Hamburger Helper and ramen noodles were outside of my culinary scope.

I recently did a very unscientific poll and asked others what are a few life lessons they’d like to share. A good majority of them are very applicable to those incoming college freshmen who are leaving home and striking off for the very first time.

Here are two that really stuck out for me:

When a bill says it’s due on the 15th, the company means the 15th.

One woman told me “a many a year ago,” she came home from work on the 16th after forgetting to pay the power bill. On her table sat two candles and two matches with a note from her mother that simply read, “Pay your bills.”

A person’s good name is the one great thing a person is born with. Treat it with respect, because once it’s lost, it can never be regained.

Another person told me of a story how she was single and living alone at 28 in a great farmhouse in the northern part of the county. A neighbor boy came one day and sat down at her dining room table and chatted about nonsense for many hours — all the while his father’s barn was burning. After that, he was known around town as “the crazy boy who let his daddy’s barn burn down” and his good name was in ashes at his feet, literally.

Over the years, however, I’m proud to say that I’ve realized a great many things about life.

I’ve conquered the checkbook, and while I may not be Julia Child, I do have skills in the kitchen.

I’ve learned that kids are like plants. When you feed and water them, they grow. On the flip side, I’ve also leaned, at least in my case, kids are a lot like Gizmo — you get them wet and they multiply. Before you know it, you’ve got three little girls running around in feather boas and sequins.

I’ve also learned that the need to eat is a powerful motivator. It will make you get out of bed when you don’t feel like going to work, and it will make you put back those great shoes even though you really, really want them.

I know now that love has nothing to do with looks but everything to do with time, trust and interest.

So while that guy or girl may look like a million bucks, but if there’s nothing upstairs and you can’t hold down a 15-minute conversation about one specific subject, or if they don’t have a job — move on. There are just some things you can’t overcome. Broke idiots are two such examples.

However, the most important thing I’ve learned this week is there’s a good reason why God put erasers on top of pencils. Sometimes when the answer we have isn’t a good one or is the wrong one, we need to take that eraser and start over.