Younger Teachers

“The older I get, the younger my teachers become.”  ~Unknown

As a life-long learner, I’m grateful for the people who have been (and currently are) willing to teach me.  Whether they’ve written a book I’ve read, created a podcast, or sat down next to me to explain something, their willingness to teach me has enriched my live.  I’m especially grateful that these teachers are often younger than I am.

As someone who’s been around for over half a century, I couldn’t imagine how adversely impacted my learning would be if I only listened to people who were older than me.  If I carried the belief that there’s nothing I can learn from anyone who’s younger than me, I’d be willingly disconnecting myself from the wisdom and knowledge of a significant portion of the world population.  What an awful way to move through life!

If sense a negative attitude bubbling up when you have the opportunity to learn from someone younger, check yourself.  You may be on the cusp of throwing away a perfectly good learning experience.

How foolish it would be to miss an opportunity to learn something valuable, simply because pride and ego deafen your ears to voices younger than your own.

Applying What You Learn

I’ve been playing the electric bass for almost 3 years now, and one thing I really enjoy is getting the sheet music for a song I like and learning how to play it.  While it’s fun, as well as rewarding, to learn to play a favorite song, what’s especially cool is to take what I’ve learned about one song and apply it to another.

I’m blessed to be able to play electric bass for our worship team at church.  The song charts we use at church show us the basic chords (notes) we should play, but otherwise there’s a lot of room to be creative.  As I was discussing a section of a favorite song I was learning (Limelight by Rush) with my bass instructor, he showed me how I could apply the same concepts that were being used in this section of Limelight to a song I’ll be playing in church this week.  I was totally blown away, as well as excited about the possibilities this opened up for me.

I think most skills we learn have application beyond the context we learn them in.  Concepts learned to master one skill are often transferable across other disciplines and scenarios.  Being aware of this allows us to multiply the impact of what we learn by applying it broadly beyond the context it was learned in.

The next time you learn something new, think about how you can apply the concepts beyond the context in which it was learned.  You’ll start to see possibilities and solutions where they didn’t exist before.

Being Intentional

On New Year’s Day, my wife and I spent some time discussing the events and activities we’d like to do in 2020.  At one point as we were listing off places we wanted to go and things we wanted to do, my wife said, “We need to get these on the calendar.”  She was exactly right!  So that’s what we did.

It’s amazing to me how much we can miss out on (exciting things that we actually want to do) simply because we are not intentional about getting them scheduled and making them happen.  Something changed when we wrote these things on the calendar.  This simple act affirmed our commitment to them.  By putting the event/activity on the calendar, we’ve said, “Yes, this is something we will do!”

So often our failure to commit the time to something is the major obstacle that keeps it from being realized.  What is it that you’d like to do in 2020?  Is there somewhere you’d like to go or something you’d like to accomplish?  If so, I’d encourage you to get it scheduled before your calendar fills up.

Commit time to those things that are important for you to achieve in 2020.  Otherwise you’ll get to December 31, 2020 and realize that your lack of being intentional has caused you to miss out on what otherwise might have been an spectacular year.

A Thought on Giving Advice

“The best way to succeed in life is to act on the advice you give others.”     ~ Unknown

Have you ever observed a behavior in another person and found yourself either thinking, or actually telling them, how you feel they could have better-handled the situation?  If so, here’s a news flash for you (and for me as well!): Unless someone asks you for your opinion, they aren’t interested in hearing your advice.

I don’t normally appreciate unsolicited advice from others, so why would I think someone else would be receptive to unsolicited advice from me?

My best option is to take my own advice and work on myself versus trying to fix others.  Because ultimately, the only person I have control over… is me.

Extending Grace

It’s so easy to see or hear something about another person and quickly come the conclusion that “they’re a jerk!” or “inconsiderate”, or any number of unflattering things, when we really don’t know what they might be carrying in their own life.

Maybe they’re dealing with:

  • Loss
  • Loneliness
  • An illness
  • An ill loved one
  • A terminal diagnosis
  • Hopelessness
  • Lack of affection or kind words from others

The point is, since we don’t really know what’s going on in the lives of those around us, the kind thing would be to extend grace to others instead of ill-informed snap judgments.  Because wouldn’t we all appreciate that from others?

Next Time

I like working to improve different areas of my life.  Whether it’s learning a skill, interacting with others, maintaining healthy habits, or following the teachings of Jesus, there are so many opportunities to get better every day.  I find that encouraging!

However, occasionally (actually, more often than I’d like to admit) I find myself acting in a way that is contrary to the improvements I’m trying to make.  To keep from feeling frustrated and defeated when this happens, I remind myself that although I missed the mark this time, I will do better next time.

I’m so grateful that missing the mark doesn’t condemn us to forever-failure status.  We have so many opportunities to do better, because there is always a “next time” right around the corner.

If you’re working to make improvements in your life, but find you’ve been missing the mark, that’s OK!  Simply think about what hitting the mark would look like, and commit to doing that the next time.

Make the Most of the Next 12 Months  

Several years ago I got a birthday card from my co-workers.  It was a nice card filled with kind words of birthday cheer.  Of all the notes written, there was one encouraging message that really stood out.  It simply read, “Make the most of the next 12 months, for you will never be this age again!”

I’d never thought of birthdays like that.  Sure, I know how the calendar works, but I‘d never really considered that we get the privilege of being a certain age for only 12 months.  This encouraging note reminded me that I get to decide how I want to spend the next 12 months of my lives.

It’s easy to think of birthdays as a reminder that we’re getting older, but my co-worker’s wise words continue to remind me that we have a role to play in what we do with the days between our birthdays.  We can choose to become “old” by complaining that we’re getting old, or we can choose to be grateful for the days we have and get about the business of living them well.  It’s absolutely up to us.