There are two methods of learning – by revelation or by experience. The best is the latter, but is the more difficult. Those things we experience ourselves are not soon forgotten. Many things are only learned through experience, but revelation – learning through the experience of others, is easier. Much easier. And the wiser route.
The trip to some new destination is less likely to meet with an unpleasant experience if advice from someone who has gone before is sought and heeded. It is preferable to head into the journey equipped with as much foreknowledge of what lies ahead as possible, rather than venturing blindly into the unknown.
That is where fathers come in.
Most fathers have at least two decades of experience on their children, experience in living. Fathers have gone before in the same journey their children are taking, the journey of life. Young men often think their strength is all that is needed for the journey, that they can muscle their way through. But wisdom and muscle, what a combination.
“The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the grey head.” Proverbs 20:29.
Blessed is that young son or daughter who sees the beauty in that grey head. There is experience in that grey hair. Lessons learned from mistakes. After all, mistakes are the best teachers. Lessons learned from mistakes are not easily forgotten. A maxim I held close to my heart most of my life was, “If you’re going to make a mistake, make a big one.” We learn more from our big mistakes then we do from little ones. Little errors here and then can accumulate and we don’t take much notice, because the effects of those missteps are often minor and, over time, easily ignored. But those big mistakes, they can often hit you like a two-by-four upside the head. And are not easily ignored or forgotten.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have a father with whom I could take counsel with. I had to learn much of what I know through experience. Fortunately, while in my early twenties, I came to accept the Bible as the Word of God. It was through the revelations found in the Scripture, that I was able to gain knowledge that I did not need to attain through the hard road of experience.
“The wise man will hear and increase learning and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels, to understand a proverb and the interpretation, the words of the wise and their dark sayings.” Proverbs 1:5,6
I’ve made it a habit to read a chapter from Proverbs a day most of my adult life. From these proverbs wisdom was gained that I did not have to acquire through the gauntlet of experience. From these proverbs I went on to build a successful business and raise a family.
Father’s Day is time for sons and daughters to recognize the reservoir of wisdom found in their fathers, the man with a hoary head. Grey is the color of experience. White is the color of wisdom.
God, through Paul, tells us to “honor thy father…” In fact, honoring our fathers is so important, it is one of the Ten Commandments, the one commandment with a promise, that of long life. Want a guaranteed long life? Honor your father. Sadly, this commandment, along with the other nine, is so neglected today, to the determent of the family and society as a whole.
How can honor be given to a father? Seek out his advice. Ask him what his experiences were in the particular problems you may now be facing in your life. The probability is that he has gone that way before you and can guide you on your way – avoiding the same mishaps that befell him.
The day will come when your father will no longer be around. Your opportunity to seek his wisdom and guidance will be lost to you forever. Neglecting to honor your father by seeking his advice may just turn out to be one of those two-by-fours that hit you upside your head – one of those big mistakes you’ll regret later.
Learn from revelation.
“A wise man will listen, and increase learning.”
Be wise, honor thy father.