Considering that the Lord just reminded us in Leviticus 19:32 to honor those older than us (especially those with gray-haired crowns as reflecting the Ancient of Days), and considering part of this honor involves encouraging our elders to talk with us about their lives while we listen intently as eager to learn something from their life experiences, I thought it would be nice to share with you some “proverbs” at the end of Tim Russert’s lovely book, Wisdom of Our Fathers: Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons.
At the end of his book, he gathers some pithy and pregnant statements in a section he labels, “Father Knows Best”. Here are a few excerpts from that section by men I expect are no longer living (just as Mr. Russert entered eternity in 2008), but from whom we can still learn to live by what they left behind through their children’s letters:
The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.
—Herman Schayes, coach, hospital aide
Do what you have to do first, and what you want to do second.
—Donald Jarvis, shop supervisor
Go for broke. What’s the worst that can happen? If they say no, you’re right back where you started. And they might say yes.
—Ray Hasson, TV producer
Don’t let other people’s actions govern yours.
—Jean Smith, railroad yardmaster
Choose good friends. If you walk past garbage, you will smell like garbage.
—Emilio Saporito, dye-house worker
Don’t brag. It’s not the whistle that pulls the train.
—Nat Landau, insurance salesman
Never replace just one spark plug.
—Lester William Dreyer, steamfitter
The fruit you reach for is better than the fruit that falls at your feet.
—Clyde Smith, transportation operator
Drive with care. Life has no spare.
—Bernard Gottlieb, businessman
Practice hard. You’ll play the way you practiced.
—Nick Cosmos, coach
A clear conscience is a soft pillow.
—Harry David LaVenture, shirt cutter
Be grateful that I’m still yelling at you, because that means I still care. When I don’t say anything—that’s when you should worry.
—William Pramberger, financial analyst
You’d be amazed what you can do when you have to.
—James Joseph Vaughan, operating engineer
Remembering that our purposes are established, rather than disappointed, for a multitude of counselors (Proverbs 15:22; 20:18) and that there is wise safety in a multitude of counselors (Proverbs 11:14; 24:6), may we meditate on these helpful life lessons from those who have gone before us and made an indelible impression on those they left behind, minding Proverbs 12:15: The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.