The old joke goes something like this…
Q: What’s worse than finding a worm in your apple?
A: Finding half a worm.
Here’s another one…
Q: What’s worse than an unsupervised three year old learning how to start a lawnmower?
A: … we’ll get to that in a minute
First, I want to tell you about a wonderful man – family and friends called him “Daddy Don”. Daddy Don was a gracious and generous man. Long ago, he volunteered to help me with some upgrades to a house I had just purchased.
Now, I’m pretty handy. I grew up as a carpenter’s son and I know my way around power tools pretty well. As we cut boards out on the deck and headed inside to do our work, Daddy Don did something I’d never done, or seen done, before. He bent over and unplugged the circular saw. In a flash, Daddy Don’s wisdom washed over me. He was, indeed, a good great dad and he wanted me to be a great dad by not putting my children at risk. I’ve never forgotten that simple, unspoken lesson or the wisdom behind it.
There’s a great verse in the Bible that encourages older men to “…teach young men to be wise.” (Titus 2:6 NLV). That’s exactly what Daddy Don was doing, he was transferring the wisdom he earned throughout his life into my young life. That’s great advice in both directions. Older men, be eager to share the lessons you’ve learned (often the hard way!) with the younger generation. Younger men, show openness to your seniors, honor their journey through life and soak in their wisdom. “Learn on their nickel”.
What? The lawnmower… Oh, yes, my ADD kicked in there for a moment.
Recently, I was riding my bike through a beautiful, upscale suburban neighborhood. I was not surprised to hear the roar of a lawnmower, but when I realized it was coming from a tiny little tot standing next to an unattended mower, I was alarmed. I hopped off my bike and ran up to the open garage doors whistling and yelling loudly.
Eventually a grandma aged woman appeared and asked me what the problem was. “That little boy is all alone and starting the lawnmower.”
“No,” she protested, “he’s just playing. He can’t start it.”
Just then, on cue, the tyke turned the electric start (I told you it was an upscale neighborhood) on the mower and it fired up. Sadly, the woman expressed no great alarm, just mild disappointment as she sauntered over and led the lad away from the mower. In reflection, I probably should have called 911 in hopes of making a greater impression.
I shudder to think about “what’s worse” than what I witnessesed.
I got back on my bike, my heart racing, and rode away – wishing desperately that that family had a Daddy Don around to impart some life-saving wisdom to them… and so very thankful that I’ve had a Daddy Don in my life.