Some of the best lessons in life are not taught in school, or are learned through technology. They are learned from experiences we have during our daily routine. I’ve had a lot of these lessons, some I paid attention to, others I learned after a second experience later in life. Sometimes we are too young to understand the lesson and it takes another one to make it stick in our minds. If we don’t learn the second time, we deserve the bruises we get the next time the lesson arises. Here are a few of those lessons that I taken to heart, some just recently.
As I grew up I had an Uncle that I really liked. He was my Uncle Ross and I don’t remember him ever in the whole time he was alive speaking more than 1 sentence at a time. If what he wanted to say was really important he communicated in a full sentence, but normally it was one or two words at a time. You understood what he was saying just because of his physical presence, but he was always able to get his message across in a very few words. This is a lesson I did not learn in life that I wish I had. Over the past week, to ten days I have started in steps moving toward what my Uncle Ross tried to teach me in his own way, that less is more. You don’t have to talk a lot, or interject your thoughts when you know something. You don’t need to talk just to have your opinion heard. You don’t have to do it all to get respect.
Another lesson I learned as I grew up was a very happy time for me. The lesson was a small pebble in the course of my fun, but was as big as the sands on all the beaches in the world. While going to the Philadelphia Flyers hockey games in late 1960’s and early 70’s at the Spectrum my Dad would always stop and let me buy peanuts from a vendor outside the rink. The man that I bought the peanuts from was blind, he didn’t work for the Spectrum, he was working for his meals. He had a guide dog with him and would talk to everyone that passed by. My Dad let me buy the peanuts because I believe he wanted me to learn from the interaction with a man that was not rich, did not have the material things that I had, the family that I had. I never thought of it that way until I was in college, but what I remember from those 1000’s of hockey games was this man that I bought hot peanuts from.
This man was always happy, he didn’t have much of anything, but he was smiling and knew who I was after the first time I bought peanuts from him. He asked my name, shook my hand and patted my head. From that moment forward he called me by my name after hearing me talk to him; sometimes he knew I was there before I spoke, and I won’t try to figure that one out. He didn’t let what life had dealt him bring him down, he made the most of his life and made others feel special. This is another lesson that I didn’t put together in my own life until today. The Spectrum is being torn down, the memories in that building are memories of my early teenage years. I was in that building for the Flyers first Stanley Cup victory. I remember that Stanley Cup and a many other events, but the first memory that I have each time I think of the Spectrum is the man that I bought peanuts from.
I hope that I can change a little, maybe a lot, so that I can incorporate what these men were trying to teach me. I know it will make me a better person.