"The School of Hard Knocks"
When people are young, they don’t see things in the same light as older folks. For them, life is an endless parade of days that will seemingly never end. With the exception of those suffering from a terminal illness, debilitating handicap, depression or other such conditions, their lives are carefree, lively, interesting and fun.
But gradually, kids mature into their teens and things begin to change. Romance, school worries and peer pressure mount. Life is still exciting and fun, but maybe not quite as much. However, comparatively, to what the future holds, they still live carefree unencumbered lives.
Then comes a day apron strings become untied and fledgling adults leave their nest. Suddenly, a whole new world, the real one, emerges. No more tests and second chances…it’s sink or swim. Responsibilities, job worries and bills become a stark reality. And that’s if a job can even be found. If one is fortunate and lands a job, they will discover something else.
Being young, naturally these young adults have little work experience. Many will discover it takes much more than book knowledge to survive. There is so much more to learn. Life experiences can’t be over rated. It will come as a surprise to some, life isn’t fair and not everybody plays by the rules. There’s still one more school to graduate from…“The School of Hard Knocks.” Not all make it.
At this very real institution of learning, many things are taught never included in a text book. As a youngster, students were taught to play well with others. In The School of Hard Knocks, how to deal with those failing to learn that lesson is a popular class.
How does one treat the person promoted when it was obvious you were the best qualified? Or dishonest employees were kept on the payroll and the honest let go? In other institutions “Honesty is the best Policy” was drummed into students, although in many cases it seems it wasn’t. The corrupt got ahead while the rest floundered.
It becomes painfully obvious life isn’t always fair, but life goes on. At least it does for some. There comes a time when the realization life isn’t a given and the specter of death smacks us in the face. As we age, loved ones begin to pass on. Questions pondered over the centuries about life and death become something we strive to find answers for. What is life and what happens to the dead? Do we go to Heaven, Hell or is this all there is?
For those of us who make it old age, most will one day stop and reflect on their life…the triumphs, failures and mistakes made. Mostly the failures and mistakes are what most will contemplate on. We’ll wonder why we were so stupid in some cases or why we didn’t do things differently when opportunity knocked.
But as the old adage goes “Hindsight is 20/20.” For older folks getting ever nearer the end of life in the present world it’s too late to change mistakes made. But, it’s not too late to open up the yearbook from The School of Hard Knocks and tell the grandkids and other young people what you learned. Do you think they will listen…did you?