As a kid in 1st grade I had perfect attendance and as a reward I was given a book on Aesop’s fables. I considered this book of fables easy reading because they were illustrated, practical and imaginative. I read the book so many times that the cover literally fell off. That year for Christmas my Aunt Ruth who worked in a book bindery company had a new cover made for me and it became like a new book all over again.
One story that stuck out in my mind was the story of:
“The Frogs and the Well”
Two Frogs lived together in a marsh. But one hot summer the marsh dried up, and they left it to look for another place to live in: for frogs like damp places if they can get them. By and by they came to a deep well, and one of them looked down into it, and said to the other, "This looks a nice cool place. Let us jump in and settle here." But the other, who had a wiser head on his shoulders, replied, "Not so fast, my friend. Supposing this well dried up like the marsh, how should we get out again?"
Moral of the story was…”Look before you leap."
Then one summer day while I was at my grandmother’s farmhouse, the old kitchen was being renovated by my uncles and my Dad. Outside along the white board fence line that separated the milk house from the farm house at the end of the driveway there was a pile of glass windows all stacked on top of each other. Someone yelled, “hey Mark, look at that grasshopper on the fence”!!! Without hesitation or looking at the overall picture, I leaped on top of the stack of windows to grab it and to my surprise my foot went all the way through the entire stack of windows and left my leg a bloody mess to which I had to get stitches.
A similar situation happened many years later while I was in Vietnam at a “change of command” pool party where as a matter of tradition the on coming Marine NCO had to jump off of a roof into a three foot deep swimming pool. I was the new guy and it was my turn. I hated the thought of it but because of pride and possible loss of face I agreed. They all said jump feet first but all I could think of was my knee caps taking the brunt of the jump. So like a nut I jumped in head first with my hands in front of me hoping to break the impact by gliding into a safe landing. An hour later my head was being wrapped in a military hospital after they had taken the time to put a few stitches in to keep the flesh together that had been ripped apart as I hit the bottom of the pool.
No one can argue the point that information and truth is valuable. However, Wisdom without a question is more desirable because it comes from the gut. Something inside of each of us says, don’t go there, stop, look and listen and it’s ok to go, wait, be patient, go to the right, look before you leap, believe.
says “get wisdom”.
As I reflect back on the exposure to all those childhood stories I can’t help but realize that wisdom is truly the key to survival and general success in life. Even the scripture.