A man was on the golf practice course, when the club pro brought an important-looking man out for a lesson. The pro watched the guy swing several times and started making suggestions for improvement, but each time the pupil interrupted with his own versions of what was wrong and how to correct it.
After a few minutes of this interference, the pro began nodding his head in agreement. At the end of the lesson, the man paid up and congratulated him on his expertise as a teacher and left in an obviously pleased frame of mind.
The observer was so astonished by the performance, that he had to ask, “Why did you go along with him?”
“Son,” the old pro said with a grin as he carefully pocketed his fee, “I learned long ago that it’s a waste of time to sell answers to a man who wants to buy echoes.”
Charlie Brown and Lucy – You’re Doing The Right Things
Sometimes it is easier to look elsewhere for our security and approval. Like the day when Charlie Brown stopped at the psychiatric help stand to talk with Lucy. He confesses, “My trouble is I never know if I’m doing the right thing. I need to have someone around who can tell me when I’m doing the right thing.” Lucy says, “Okay. You’re doing the right thing. That’ll be five cents, please!” Charlie Brown walks away with a smile on his face.
In a few minutes, he returns with a frown. “Back already?” asks Lucy. “What happened?” Charlie Brown says, “I was wrong. It didn’t help. You need more in life than just having someone around to tell you when you’re doing the right thing.” Lucy says, “Now you’ve really learned something! That’ll be another five cents please.”
A gray-haired old lady, long a member of her community and church, shook hands with the minister after the service one Sunday morning. “That was a wonderful sermon,” she told him, “just wonderful. Everything you said applies to someone I know.”
Bits and Pieces, November, 1989, p. 19
The Fox Without a Tail
It happened that a fox caught its tail in a trap, and in struggling to
release himself lost all of it but the stump.
At first he was ashamed to show himself among his fellow foxes. But at last he determined to put a bolder face upon his misfortune, and summoned all the foxes to a general meeting to consider a proposal which he had to place before
When they had assembled together the fox proposed that they
should all do away with their tails. He pointed out how inconvenient
a tail was when they were pursued by their enemies, the dogs; how much
it was in the way when they desired to sit down and hold a friendly
conversation with one another. He failed to see any advantage in
carrying about such a useless encumbrance.
“That is all very well,” said one of the older foxes; “but I do not think you would have recommended us to dispense with our chief ornament if you had not
happened to lose it yourself.”
Moral: Distrust interested advice. Be careful who you listen to.
Which Brand of Oil?
If you had a master mechanic build a special car for you and when you took delivery he insisted that you should never use Brand X oil.
Later on, after perhaps having some difficulty with your magnificent
car, the “shade tree” mechanic down the road was helping you and he
insisted you had to use Brand X oil.
There’s no question as to whose advice you would follow. With all due respects to the “shade tree” mechanics knowledge, the master mechanic knows best.
Who Do You Follow?
A story is told of a biologist’s experiment with “processional caterpillars.”
On the rim of a clay pot that held a plant, he lined them up so that the leader was head-to-tail with the last caterpillar. The tiny creatures circled the rim of the pot for a full week. Not once did any one of them break away to go over to the plant and eat.
Eventually, all caterpillars died from exhaustion and starvation.
The story of the processional caterpillars is a kind of parable of human behavior. People are reluctant to break away from the rhythmic pattern of daily life. They don’t want to be different.
We must break away from the crowd, however, if we are to accept Christ’s admonition in Matt 7:14 to through the narrow gate which is cramped and “few are the ones finding it”.
Buying a Parrot
A woman bought a parrot to keep her company but returned it the next day. “This bird doesn’t talk,” she told the owner.
“Does he have a mirror in his cage?” he asked. “Parrots love mirrors. They see their reflection and start a conversation.” The woman bought a mirror and left.
The next day she returned; the bird still wasn’t talking. “How about a ladder? Parrots love ladders. A happy parrot is a talkative parrot.” The woman bought a ladder and left.
But the next day, she was back. “Does your parrot have a swing? No? Well, that’s the problem. Once he starts swinging, he’ll talk up a storm.” The woman reluctantly bought a swing and left.
When she walked into the store the next day, her countenance had changed. “The parrot died,” she said. The pet storeowner was shocked.
“I’m so sorry. Tell me, did he ever say a word?” he asked.
“Yes, right before he died,” the woman replied. “In a weak voice, he asked me, ‘Don’t they sell any food at that pet store?'”
He that gives good advice builds with one hand; he that gives good counsel and example, builds with both; but he that gives good admonition and bad example, builds with one hand and pulls down with the other. — Francis Bacon
Advice is like snow, the softer it falls, the longer it dwells and the deeper it sinks into the mind. — Samuel Taylor Coleridge