Life Experience of Elders — Spares Us Our Own Mistakes

That there is a problem with a book I wrote is quite an obvious thing that I’ve figured out – that I wish I could undo.  That is so because every time I read that work, the word THAT jumps out every few words and that could be really annoying because that practice of mine to use the word “that” in such a careless, newbie writer way is that much more distasteful as time goes on.

Yup, there you have it.  A full paragraph THAT underscores one of the many problems I have with my past work.  The Superfluous THAT.  That it is a word that gets overused is obvious about THAT.

What is doubly annoying is I ran the book by an editor, who didn’t write “dele” over every THAT and left it at that.

THAT problem, actually, is not the only one making me cringe when I read my past book.  There are other glaring issues with it I wish someone would have caught before publishing.  Once a book is in print, it is out there with all its warts and ugliness hanging out in public.

My niece is a newbie writer, a really good one.  She just had an experience I wish I had enjoyed.  She wrote an amazing piece about a mentor and a student.  She was all idealistic in penning it, wanting to share good with the world.  However, as she ran the article by someone more mature and thought-out, the person let her know she ought to get permissions from the parties involved, she ought to think of long-range ramifications of what she wrote, she might also want to rethink some details.

I wish someone had done the same favor for me.  For youth, sometimes, in its idealism doesn’t think things through fully.  A voice of experience often opens us up to possibilities we didn’t know existed.

Not just in writing, but also in living.  Yup, changing funds on a black market (which I did abroad in my youth) is not so smart you finally realize as you age.  Going snow sledding with a car, done in teen years, not a good idea.  And worse, trust me, I’ve done worse, in my stupid youth.  Not always out of mischief.  Sometimes out of the most misguided idealism.

In Jewish thought a person is not Chayav Meesah B’yiday Shamayim (liable for Heavenly death penalty) until 20 years of age, for before such an age a person doesn’t fully grasp serious ramifications.  Levi’im did not start learning their Avodah/service until the age of 25 and didn’t start doing their actual service until the age of thirty!  Yup, twenty is mature, but not quite fully mature enough to completely understand.

This is why we are told to “sha’al aveecha – ask your fathers”, to question our “elders”, and “va’yomroo lach – they will tell you”.  Those who traveled life a bit further than you did, lived through more experience than you did,  they will guide you, they will give you the voice of maturity and experience.

Some folks like learning through their own mistakes and will not listen to elders.  OUCH – I tell you.  Learning through the ouches of one’s own experience is not THAT pleasant.

As for the elders, I implore of them, do share tales and lessons, morals and ethics, even unasked, even if challenged.  Perhaps, just maybe, one young fool will be spared his/her own youthful blunder.


About jewishspectacles

Jewish Spectacles-the kind you look through, not the kind you create!
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