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"The School of Hard Knocks"

Updated on November 3, 2011

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?


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    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Paradise, I take it your one that didn't listen also. LOL it, I'll write about it.

      femme...what can I say? Marine public relations man here...If I can sell the Corps, I can sell anything. :-)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      JY, this really is an excellent piece and saturated with a great deal of good observations and advice.

      Voted up as well!

    • Born2care2001 profile image

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 

      7 years ago from Asheville NC

      Hi JY3502,

      I enjoyed reading this hub. The content reveals the reason I became a life architect, mentor and guide, primarily to young men.

      You are quite astute in your observations and it's no surprise today that corporate America hires for technical expertise and fires for character qualities.

      I ask that you, and others like you, continue to write on this subject whenever and wherever you can!

      We need your experience and our young men need to know we care enough, not to speak out, but to listen without judgment!

      Thanks for a job well done!


    • Paradise7 profile image


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      I was ruminating over some of the same things, the other day. It's really hard to convey a lesson you learned the hard way to someone young, and have it stick. It does seem like everybody has to go through their own things to grow up.

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      mjboomer, I never had any kids so I'll never be a granddad...too old to be a father. But, I'm nearly 60 and I was thinking about my life. Thus,this story. Thanks for the nice comment. John

    • mjboomer profile image

      Mike Elzner 

      7 years ago from Oregon

      As we walk down our life's path we most often learn more from the hard knocks, friends and family. As a father and Grandfather I only hope I am a good role model for those who follow in my footsteps. Great Hub...Mike

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Thanks Kevin, I try to write interesting pieces. Otherwise, who will read them?

    • KevinC9998 profile image


      7 years ago

      You speak the truth my friend! Nice job and voted up. Kevin


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