The Wisdom of our Elders, The Folly of the Young

The old axiom about learning from one's mistakes gets inscribed on the hearts of almost anyone who manages a cattle operation in very short order. That's because it seems like, no matter how much time and effort you put into managing your operation more efficiently, you end up making a plethora of mistakes, which then leads up to a whole lot of knowledge.

If only someone would have told me how much I could have learned from others when I was 16, and/or fresh out college, I could have avoided so many wrong turns and screw-ups. Yet, thinking back, I'm sure someone did; I just didn't listen.

For instance, the older generation told us the kids would grow up too fast; to enjoy them while we could. I just nodded and smiled. Now that we're approaching the halfway or 1/3 markers in that journey with our own kids, I realize all those folks were bestowing on me the benefit of all their experience and maybe their regret.

Last weekend, I spent a pretty cool day with my eldest son. I pray it's a day he'll never forget; it's certainly a day I'll never forget. To see the passion in his eyes almost made me want to burst. I always knew my parents loved me, but I never knew how much until I had kids of my own; it was simply a point of reference I could not understand.

I'm sure someone told me when I went off to college that it wasn't about the information. It was about learning to learn, building your network, finding mentors, creating a resume, and all of that. But somehow I couldn't take it to heart. I had to work for a while to realize I wanted to go back to graduate school to make up for those shortcomings.

Someone said you have to learn to think and act like a millionaire before you can become one. I think there's something to that. And that, to me, is the cruelest thing about the good advice we get -- we're rarely at the right point in our lives to both hear and act upon it simultaneously.

All I know is I'm going to listen a lot more, especially to those who have already been down the road I want to travel. Here's hoping you can live this upcoming week, in a way that will please your maker and yourself, and that will be built upon all the wisdom of the past.
-- Troy Marshall