...Another Example of Wisdom
Back during WWII, I was born. There are only a few things of those days nearly 7-decades ago that I still possess. One of those treasures is a baby book in which my mother wrote things about those early years much of which my father missed due to being in the Pacific during the war.
In the book was a poem by a woman by the name of Will Allen Dromgoole. The poem was entitled: The Bridge Builder.
I have always loved that poem even as a child. When I was a senior in high school, I had to recite it for my English teacher, Mrs. Davis. It was a requirement to memorize several hundred lines per semester during the four years of high school. I understood the old man's mission in life. The old man wanted to help the next generation journey down the road of life. The old builder had successfully gone through dangers in life:
This act of building a bridge when he didn't have to do so created a controversy with a fellow traveler who raises the meaning of what seemed like a waste of time. The builder replied the fellow traveler:
This was the emotional drive that motivated the old man. Normally, when you get to be old, many will just sit back and enjoy life...and do nothing. The old bridge builder enjoyed his advanced years...by being active and building bridges for others. He built a bridge to span the tide...for a fair-hair youth who might find the vast chasm a pitfall.
I thought that I knew the meaning of the poem surely by my preteens...but in reality I really didn't know even when my haired turned from brown to gray. However, when Jack and Owen, my two grandsons, came into my life, I thoroughly understood the message. I got the message...toward the end of my life. This not only explains why I am driven by Jack and Owen, but also why I love teaching so much in general.
However, the building bridges for Jack and Owen puts a great deal of meaning into my life. Nevertheless, with the drive to build comes the question about how to build a bridge. It questions the entire learning process in which I have invested so much. We learn from problems not from happy times. No pain no gain is a most basic truism. Building bridges to avoid pitfalls doesn't entirely help them learn from their problems. This problem that I am facing about how to build bridges for Jack and Owen is such an example. The pain produces another drive...to understand and resolve the problem.
There is a seeming contradiction here. Yes, I must build bridges for the next generation whether they are family or students at the university level. I have lucked out several times when death came knocking. I could have slipped and gone into the chasm, vast, deep, and wide.
However, I was lucky. When death wanted to dance with me, I lead. Nonetheless, I won't always be as fortunate and neither will Jack and Owen and the rest of world. I don't want Jack and Owen or the rest of the world to fall. I want to protect them especially my grandsons as best I can.
Having said the obvious, I am fully aware that the learning process occurs during troubled time not during times of just skipping along life's road. Problem solving occurs during problematic time not during the happy times of life. The old adage used in sports: no pain, no gain is a truism. We learn and again in life if we face and address our pitfalls of pain.
There are four important things that I want Jack and Owen to understand and would suggest that my readers need to tell their family members similar points.