Wisest man I ever knew

Who is the wisest man you ever knew?

Did he tell you how it is done, or did he give you analogies to figure out how it was done?

Did he want you to use your own brain, and have no patience for those who didn’t?

Seems back in the day, wisdom was much more sought out and treasured than it is today. Today, kids don’t always want to hear what is right and what is wrong, or how to do things “our way” but my thinking is if you give an analogy that requires them to use what’s in that noggin God gave them, they are more likely to not just “listen”, but to actually hear you.

Just telling people your opinion on matters sometimes turns them off, especially when their opinion may greatly differ from yours at the time. Giving them an example makes them stop for a moment, but give them an analogy, and then they ponder. And who knows, in the end, a lot more of what you say may be taken to heart. If you are lucky, it is never forgotten. -Luckier yet, those analogies will be used for generations.

The wisest man I ever knew wasn’t all of those things I described. Lord knows, he was opinionated! -And he grew to a point where he would admit he was opinionated. If you didn’t like his opinion, well then it was no skin off of his back, but you were a dummy for thinking any differently. Moreover, he would never understand why you thought differently than he did.

He had little sympathy for those who were able bodied, yet wouldn’t work. I believe that his belief was use the tools God gave you to better yourself and those around you. Use your head to find the work, and use your able body to do the work, until it was done, and done right. The Lord helps those who help themselves.

The wisest man I ever knew was a loving man, but he was a business man. In his eyes, love and business went hand in hand. You work, and you work hard, to provide for those you love. If you work hard enough, you have not only provided for those you love, but for the generations to follow.

You help your neighbors. You help those in need. You support your Church and its ministries. You don’t buy frivolous things like fancy clothes, fancy cars, or even live in a fancy house. If something is broken, you fix it -you don’t run out to buy a new one.

All of that hard work is not to be blown on frivolous things, but so that the ones you love can live comfortably, not want for the important things, and learn the value of hard work and a hard earned dollar. His life was God, family, work and more work.

As I said this man was an opinionated man. Most of his opinions were truths based on his Christian beliefs, but there were opinions that arose from life experiences too -his experiences and experiences of those close to him. There was wisdom in his opinion.

Have you ever purchased something because it was a great bargain? You may not need it now, but you may need it in the future. His opinion on items that may appear to be bargains was basically, just because something appears to be a deal, doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t a waste of money. His analogy on this matter, “Everyone knows a white elephant for a dime is a good deal; but only if you have NEED of a white elephant and only if you have an EXTRA dime.”

He also believed that just because you worked hard, didn’t mean you were indispensable. In his opinion, everyone could be replaced. He would give this analogy, “Do you think you are important and will be missed? Put your hand in a bucket of water. Pull it back out and look at the hole you leave.” In other words, you didn’t change the water, and you didn’t do anything someone else couldn’t have done. You left no hole in the water, and there would be no hole when you are gone. Someone will be able to do the same job you did. Well, that is the way I interpret it, maybe you have another interpretation or opinion. Squeaky wheels don’t always get oiled, sometimes they get replaced.

Like I said, he was a business man, but a business man because he was a family man. Our world has changed so much since he was born nearly 90 years ago. Children are having children, and things are just not as they used to be. Of course, being the father of five daughters, he had an opinion on unwed mothers too, which was that a woman should be responsible for her own body. He didn’t have many opinions for which he didn’t also have analogies. “A woman can run faster with her skirt up, than a man can with his pants down.” Sounds pretty chauvinistic to many in today’s world, and when I heard it said, I was blown aback for quite awhile. -But I have to admit, it was one I pondered and never forgot. I can promise you I have repeated it to many people, so it just may survive a few generations, no matter how times may change!

Everyone makes mistakes in life, and even smart, God-fearing people. He once said “The only people who never make a mistake are the ones who never do anything.” Often times, that was followed up with “There are no mistakes, merely expenses.” Of course, this was meant in a business manner, but can be applied to nearly anything, I would suppose.

He was never too important to avoid being called upon by anyone. He was humble. Wisdom allowed him to be humble. A lot of businessmen and women think they are too busy to talk to salesmen, too busy to be interrupted, and too busy for nonsense, or plain old too important to deal with minor things around the office. Some people employ assistants for the sole purpose of screening phone calls. He would stress to his secretaries, “Never ask who is calling for me! I’m not too important to talk to anyone who calls for me, so there is no point in asking them.” His office was always open, his desk in view of the front door, and he welcomed visitors with a big smile whether it was a neighbor from up the road or a Xerox salesman, his door was open…. hmmmm maybe the more visitors, the more analogies and advice he could hand out? Nah, that’s just something that crossed my mind. Wisdom, hard work, and savings made him a wealthy, but humble man. Everyday, except Sunday, he would wear a white uniform shirt with some gas company logo on the pocket which held a pen or two, and a small pad of paper. He would wear faded blue or black uniform pants, and a black belt, no need for a fancy suit, he was a regular guy. Change jingled in his pants pocket right beside a half full pack of square Velamint candies. The other pant pocket jingled with a huge collection of keys, which would always fall out and hit him in the head when he would walk on his hands up and down the stairs for any onlooker’s delight. A baseball cap with a fuel logo donned his gray head nestled right above the frames of his silver wire glasses, which moved up when he grinned. Boy, could he grin. No one has to be serious twenty four hours a day.

Things that made him smile were seeing his children succeed, watching a little one climb up into a big old oil truck pretending to drive for the first time, hearing his children sing, big slobbery dogs, socializing with his cronies, playing softball, making a good business deal, a good political joke, long road trips, seeing the looks on his grandchildren’s faces when he popped his teeth in and out, a visit from an old friend, and especially the gleam in his bride’s eye.

The wisest man I ever knew taught me a lot of things. He taught many people many things…. He taught me that God should be first in our lives. Our opinions on life should be based upon what we know to be true in the Bible. Hard work pays off, and if you’re lucky it pays off for generations to come. You make your own luck.

Family time is always important, and nothing brings a family together like a non-stop road trip to anywhere your heart desires.

Laughter and jokes make the day go by faster, but make the memories last longer. Standing up in Church is nothing to be afraid of, and standing up for what you believe in is commendable, even if others disagree with your point of view.

Velamint candy keeps your breath smelling good, the best gum drops ever made were orange slices, while jelly beans hidden in the cabinet keep grandchildren happy. Pepsi and Mountain Dew stay cold on the front porch when the weather is right. And who needs a morning coffee when you can have a cold morning Pepsi to get the old body going?

Seafood belongs in the sea. Chickens are nasty birds. Ford makes the best trucks.

Never talk bad about anyone you are angry with, you never know when you may patch things up.

Know the people in the bank face to face. If you intend to prosper in business, you need a bank. Don’t use the drive-thru, don’t do business on the phone. Walk in the bank, greet everyone, and make sure they know you. People who know you are more willing to help you. -But make sure they know you are still willing to shop around. Make them want to keep you as a customer.

If God wanted you to wear earrings, he would have put holes in your ears.

Toys built “back in the day” were built better, and they could withstand 10 children and their friends, then 28 grandchildren. Some of those wonderful toys are still withstanding more than 30 great grandchildren. Some people do have magical teeth that do pop in and out -and children will always be amazed by such a sight!

A nap in the middle of the work day never hurt anyone, as long as you were awake for the next appointment. It’s okay to bring your kids to work with you when they are sick, because family comes before work, but work is still important enough for you to be there everyday. When you ask someone to join you for lunch, pick up the tab, and don’t take no for an answer. Bless those around you, and the blessings will come back to you ten-fold.

It doesn’t help to know how to do something, unless you know why you are doing it.

Singing is good for the spirit, and his signing was pleasant on the ears to say the least.

Word of mouth is the best advertising, and it is not necessary to spend hard earned money to advertise your services. If you do a job well the first time, for a reasonable fee, neighbors will surely pass the word.

Your opinions matter, and you can make a difference , but you alone can not change the world. You may however be able to start by helping those closest to you, and eventually with enough support, change does come, even if it is a small change.

Don’t do business with people who spend more money than they make.

Honesty is the best policy, even if your honesty may offend someone. You may not be liked by everyone, and that is okay.

There are no real secrets to success. Hard work, persistence, and finding your own way to overcome obstacles (even if that means asking for help) is the only way to succeed. Reminds me of the old saying, “Those on top of the mountain, didn’t fall there.” -They had to climb. That is what the wisest man I ever knew did little by little.

Tithe with a joyful heart, and the Lord will repay you for your kindness and generosity. Don’t just treat your loved ones with respect, but treat everyone with respect -right down to the salesman knocking at your door or ringing your phone off of the hook. Rest on Sunday, and spend time with your family. Always make room on your lap for several children to sit at a time. Remember the truly important things in life.

Office chairs make great amusement rides, but they will also make your tummy turn if you spin for too long.

Independence is something you achieve through hard work. No one, who is truly happy and satisfied, gets where they are in life merely by luck. Judging someone is something you have to learn not to do. They have their opinion and you have yours. Love everyone no matter what you feel their faults are.

The best friend a person can have is a giant slobbery dog to welcome you home, ruin your Sunday clothes, shake muddy water all over your important papers, and scare off strangers.

A bike ride is a great way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon. Raise your children well, that they may grow in the Lord first and foremost.

When you eat an apple off of the tree, make sure it is ripe. When you eat an apple off of the ground, make sure it’s not rotten. The worm inside just adds flavor.

The video games of today will never be as fun and entertaining as gathering the family outdoors for yard darts, volleyball, or softball.

Show your appreciation to those who help you succeed in life, and give them credit where credit is due.

There are acquaintances, and then there are life long friends. Treat your friends like family. Be there for your friends. You never know when you may need them to be there for you, or to be there for your loved ones when you are gone. We are no better than our neighbors, and never too important to lend a listening ear or to lend a few dollars to those in need.

When I began to write this post, my intentions were to fill it full of analogies passed down by this wonderful wise man I once knew. -Analogies I had heard myself and analogies others had heard him say. Now, I realize that maybe wisdom is shared as much by example as it is in words. For the most I could ever wish for any of my children is that they grow to be as successful, yet as humble and generous, as the wisest man I have ever known.

He, or I, or anyone else can be replaced in the work place, but never within the family. -For we all know he will never be replaced within our family. The legacies he has left us in his wisdom far surpass the legacies of any financial substance.

The last sentence written in his memoirs was a wish to be remembered as a “helpful and loving person who made the world a little better place for those he came into contact with”. I can not wait until the day when I see him again to tell him it was so.

Speak Your Mind

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Alan M. Keffer | Broker | 409 Slate Street | Chesapeake, Virginia | 23322
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