I once knew a young man that I hired to take care of my yardwork. I thought him dependable, courteous, and receptive to teaching. I invested time in him, and it worked out well for a season. However, the season ended when he discovered girls. Soon, his focus weakened, and his ability to keep his word suffered. I had warned him in advance that his ‘sweetheart’ was going to turn his head. I know that his real father had probably told him the same thing. Soon, I had to let him go, and move on to hiring another young man to do the job.
Another one of my father’s lessons was played out right in front of me. I’m glad I learned it when I did. What was that lesson? “Romance can get in the way of opportunity.”
GIVE A YOUNG MAN A BOOK:
I realize that there are a lot of ‘tech toys’ abounding in our modern age. In reality, one still needs to know how to read, and comprehend WHAT they read. Thus, one of the great things that older brothers can do for young men is to put a book in their hands.
Some of us who are of elder status still have great books of wisdom in our own libraries that have been gathering dust. Others have access to book sales as we make our rounds through society. At our churches, there is a lost and found section, oftentimes packed with good, useable KJV Bibles that have gone unclaimed for months—or years. Bottom line? Pick up a few extra of your ‘inspirational favorites’ and give them away to young men, from time to time.
It not only will get you a smile, or a fist bump of appreciation, reading is the gift that keeps on giving. In addition, it gives one a firm chance of investing in the next generation and teaching them to learn how to invest in future generations themselves.
YOUNG MEN THROWING AWAY THE WISDOM OF ELDERS:
The next time a young man cries to you about not having an opportunity to achieve, it would be a fitting question to ask him: “How many older men have tried to pour INTO you, and you put up an umbrella of rebellion?” We have been tricked into believing that a lot of our young men have been raised in single parent homes. In reality? Far too many have been raised in two parent homes AND have had wise older men in their lives who tried to ‘school’ them…but the young brothers failed to catch on, either by pride, stupidity or rebellion.
What of those young men who have been raised in a single parent home OR by a guardian (like a grandparent or other extended family member)? They too have been offered wisdom…and some have rejected it because of the ‘hipness’ of youth. Another lesson my father taught me: “You don’t often get a second chance to make a first impression on someone.”
Wisdom is a funny thing. It is just like opportunity. You must be ready to receive it when it comes your way. Also, one must be wise enough to know when wisdom comes across one’s path. Further, the wisdom that comes across your path is meant for you—and no one else. Never attempt to ‘put forth’ wisdom for someone else that was meant for you.
BE AWARE AND AN OBSERVER:
A few columns back, I heaped a lot of praise upon many young men in our society. They had been shortchanged in my view and needed some positive affirmation. This was before the schools closed and the rioting (rent-a-mobs) started to ‘show up’ in various sectors of society.
Now is the time for the ‘other shoe’ to drop and some truth and teaching needs to go forth. One cannot merely exist on cotton candy and buttercream icing forever. The vegetables, meat and potatoes need to go on the plate to be eaten and digested before the desert tray comes around. In other words, when one gets the sweet in life, that is all well and fine. However, there is a need for the bitter to go with the sweet for life to have a true balance.
Too many young men seem to ‘wander’ through life; not taking the care to pay attention to themselves, their surroundings nor their times. The Apostle Paul told his young charge Timothy in the Pauline Epistles aimed at preachers (I and II Timothy, along with Titus) that times have a way of changing quickly. It was up to Timothy, a young man whom the aged Apostle had been investing his life into since Timothy was a youngster to stay alert in life, be aware of his surroundings, and an observer of the times.
My own father instilled those qualities in me, and I have been passing them on where possible. It is far easier to ‘duck’ trouble if you can spot it coming down the street than being overwhelmed with evil because you did not take proper precautions. I understand that in some cases we can find ourselves ‘between a rock and a hard place’ suddenly. More times than not, IF we are aware of our surroundings and alert to what is going on around us, we can avoid trouble and dangerous situations.
WATCH THE COMPANY YOU KEEP:
My father, and others from his era had a saying: “Show me who you run with, and I’ll tell you who you are.” This is a welcome bit of wisdom and protection. Oh, how many young men have fallen by the wayside because of ‘picking up’ the wrong woman or hanging out with the wrong group of young men. Five minutes of sin leading to a trip downtown, a criminal record, jail time OR worse. All because of someone not heeding the ‘red lights’ in the back of their mind as they formed a new relationship with someone who did not have their best interests in line.
You may wonder where you may find more of this wisdom. There is a book called the KJV Bible. Much of the wisdom cited by my father came out of The Book Of Proverbs, a book penned for the most part by a man named King Solomon. HE learned this wisdom from God and from his OWN father, King David. This is the path of wisdom. God gives it to man through His son, Jesus Christ. Fathers pass their wisdom on to their sons. Older men pass wisdom on to younger men. If you are a young man, there is an older brother who has some wisdom to share with you. Be wise enough to humble yourself to find us. We are always ready to share!
Mike Ramey is a Minister, Syndicated Columnist and Modern Street Gangs Consultant who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. “An Elder Must Teach” is one of a variety of columns Ramey has abounding in cyberspace. ©2020 Barnstorm Communications International.