The Hedge of Thorns
I was reading my Bible the other day and came across this passage in Proverbs (15:19): “The way of the slothful man is as a hedge of thorns; but the way of the righteous is made plain”.
Now, I’m not a person who gets all evangelical at the drop of a hat but I see here, in this passage, a statement needs understanding. “The way of a slothful man is a hedge of thorns”. When you look at it you could assume man who is slothful or lazy and apathetic makes his life a really difficult endeavor. In his rejection of the industry necessary to accomplish his goals in a proper time frame he actually shows his lack of resolution to accomplish any really important goals in life. This applies for the small things and the major goals in life as well.
It’s possible to see a level of clinical depression for the individual and society as a whole when you contemplate how depression works and why it’s having the effect it has on America today. Depression can be developed through repetitive exercises done without substantive reward elevating the self-esteem of the individual. The same can be said for society. “If you always do what you always did; you’ll always get what you always got” is a statement known to be true by many people.
Today many young people appear to be suffering a form of malaise shown in the symptoms of apathy and lethargy when assigned tasks in school, early work experience and life in general. Adolescence is a time of not only physical growth but emotional, societal and spiritual growth coup-led with new challenges formerly buffered by parental guidance and intervention.
Now that’s not happening so much. Where adolescents are intrigued and confused by hormonal changes; with hair sprouting in strange places, breasts growing for girls and voices deepening and sexual drives developing in both sexes, more and more adolescents are being left to their peers’ instructional efforts. This is in place of their parents who may NOT have had explained any real experience in explaining the issues arising. We see the blind leading the blind through a minefield.
In essence those people who may or may not be detached from their sense of industry make things really difficult for themselves. They could start finding the answers they have from their parents who should be seeking their answers from their elders. This is where most people’s eyes start glazing over because they expect (as is symptomatic of what I’m talking about) I’ll be prescribing a good old Bible study to solve the problem. I don’t intend to do that other than to say this is one way to gain answers.
It’s just one way to seek answers. You gain guidance because you believe there’s something more powerful than you. But, you can find a trusted ethicist or guide who’ll point you in the direction necessary to teach you how to approach life’s questions. Philosophers like Aristotle, Hippocrates, Solon, Buddha and Christ in antiquity down through Waterston, Richard Bach and Kahlil Gibran today offer questions allowing a person to decide what is right and proper for his or her life. From questions come answers.
“But you have to work hard at it don’t you” is the question asked much of the time. And that’s where the snare is traps the prey sought by life. You have to work hard at it. You must accept the task with all of its joys and trials and attack it knowledgeably. You must engage with the task on a realistic and well-thought out strategy to allow you to work smarter not harder. You want to accomplish more in less time or more with less effort or more with fewer difficulties because you anticipate them well in advance of their cropping up.
Working smarter, not harder will allow you to take your first steps on the highway to success. Working smarter allows you to question elders and those more accomplished in successfully accomplishing the task before being thrown into the task with no good or real experience. It gives you the benefit of their experience and learning curve. This starts you at a superior position to understand the task, approach the task, do the task and successfully exhibit your skills faster, earlier in your career and lead to greater accomplishment and belief in yourself before your bosses.
The highway can speed along beneath your feet as you learn to work smarter, faster, but not necessarily harder because you learned to anticipate and develop strategies to overcome difficulties.
For me the Bible works more now than it ever has before. It allows me a set of parameters to guide me. It allows me to learn the questions I’ll ask of my seniors and elders and how to find greater peace in my efforts. For others it may take an ethicist to help shape the world-view they need. But, it’s not all about ME, ME, ME! It’s about our relationship with our world and our fellows sharing it with us.
We need to start helping our kids more by getting back into their lives and we should stop expecting them to be successful at living the most challenging times of their lives without guidance. We determine the quality of the mettle in their spines. We shape the character they’ll present to employers and the world. We are the leaders they need to emulate to succeed in their own lives.
Get out there and lead, and shape and guide. It’ll be the best thing you ever do in life.
Thanks for listening