Hard Knocks University. What’s Your Major?

“The school of hard knocks”.  We’ve all heard that phrase.  I’ve been hearing it most of my life.  I might have even said it.  Usually when we hear it, someone is referring to the lessons that they have learned by suffering through negative situations in their life.  It often occurs when you ignor sound advice and life gives you a good spanking.  I think I can safely say that we’ve all experienced THAT!

“The school of hard knocks” is a phrase coined by Elbert Hubbard.  According to a verified statement on Wikipedia, He used the phrase 1st in an article he wrote about himself in 1902.

“So that is how I got my education, such as it is. I am a graduate of the University of Hard Knocks, and I’ve taken several postgraduate courses.”  Elbert Hubbard.

I can not count the times in my own life, especially as a teen, you know, back when I knew everything, that I broke the rules, ignored sound advice, maybe even a law or two and ended up suffering for it.  Maybe even bleeding a little in the process.  I don’t know if this is true for everyone, but there was a time in my life that, even though I knew things were wrong, I wanted to test the water for myself.  I wanted to see how far I could take it.  This may happen with teenage boys more than anyone.  As a dad, this is where I get a lot of my sage advice.  I have real life experience as to why some things are stupid and shouldn’t be messed with.  Unfortunately, we as parents don’t want to tell our kids WHY we know what we know.  That would put the “But you did it!?!” argument in play.

Sunflower Mom told you quote

Anyone who has been on planet Earth for any length of time at all has had life take a swing at them. Suffering doesn’t always mean you made a bad decision. Often we will be the victims of the fallout of someone else’s bad judgment.  Difficulties come though, and we will all have to contend with tragedy, suffering, crazy people and the results of our own bad ideas.   The important thing is that there will be a lesson in each one of them.  The wise will learn the lesson and be better for it. When the same thing starts to happen in the future, the wise will see it coming and be able to navigate appropriately.  The fool on the other hand will not see it coming because they didn’t learn the lesson. They will get kicked again and wonder why their life is so hard.

The entire 4th chapter of the book of Proverbs is about inclining your ear to wisdom.  I encourage you to read it in many different translations.  It will help you.  The part that stands out the most to me begins is verse 20.

Pro 4:20 My son, give attention to my words; let your ear be turned to my sayings. 21 Let them not go from your eyes; keep them deep in your heart. 22 For they are life to him who gets them, and strength to all his flesh. 23 And keep watch over your heart with all care; so you will have life. 24 Put away from you an evil tongue, and let false lips be far from you.  25 Keep your eyes on what is in front of you, looking straight before you.  26 Keep a watch on your behaviour; let all your ways be rightly ordered.  27 Let there be no turning to the right or to the left, keep your feet from evil. (BBE version)

Recently I read a comment that nailed it concerning this.  It was essentially this: A wise man learns from his mistakes.  The wisest of men learn from the mistakes of others.  When it comes to the school of hard knocks:

  • Learn from your mistakes.  In each situation there’s a lesson.  The wise will search it out and learn it.
  • Apply it.  I’ve heard wisdom defined as the “Skillful application of knowledge”.  I like that.  Wisdom is knowledge applied.  You can’t be wise in an area where you have no understanding. Once you’ve got the lesson though, use it!
  • Learn from the mistakes of others.  This is excellent advice.  When you apply your heart to find wisdom, you can see the lessons all around you.  There’s no rule that says YOU have to be the one to take the beating.  You can let fools do that and you can learn from their mistake.
  • Help others when they ask for it.  Notice I didn’t say when they need it.  The truth is that even if someone needs your advice, if they don’t want it, they will not receive it.  You have to make certain that YOU have the position in their life to speak to them about certain things.  There are people in my life that probably see things in me that they may have deeper understanding about, but they are not close enough to me and don’t have the position to speak to me about them.  The wise understand this and don’t force things.  Sometimes all you can do is stand at the ready and pray for people.  Maybe God will open an opportunity for you to advise them.  If not, then just keep your pearls to yourself.  Do you realize that even God is limited by what we will receive?  He can not help us based on what we need.  He has the power and the desire to fix our stuff but He’s completely limited by our own faith.  He can only help us as we have the faith to receive His help.  He will not force anything on us.  In like manner, you shouldn’t force your stuff on others.
To make no mistake is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future. Plutarch

Sadly, the only real diploma from the University of Hard Knocks is a death certificate.  If your faith is in Jesus Christ, then that will be a time of great joy.  If it’s not, CLICK HERE.  The little you’ve been faithful over will then be turned into much.  Just remember, in the school of hard knock you can learn without taking the beatings for yourself.  Apply your heart to wisdom and your life will be better and your suffering will be less.

What’s one lesson you learned from the school of Hard Knocks?  The floor is yours.  Please leave a comment and share your wisdom.  If this is helpful to you, feel free to share.

Tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Hard Knocks University. What’s Your Major?

  1. Mary says:

    Good advice, thanks Art.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *