It seems like we are in a constant process of learning. Seventy percent of what we will ever know is learned between the ages of 0-3 (at least thats what the experts say). We learn to eat and talk and increase our vocabulary. Crawl. Walk. Run. Jump. Eat with our hands. Say no. Say I want. Cry when we don’t get our way. Say no. Say no. These things are just in the first 3 years of life. Then comes school where we spend 6-8 yours per day learning about life and history and reading and writing. We learn to add and subtract; multiply and divide. I can go on and on. Sometimes we become so burned out by learning that we stop the process and stop learning. Yes, it can happen if we choose to close our ears and senses to the process of learning.
Proverbs discourages us from closing our senses to the learning process. Solomon said, “Let a wise person listen and increase learning, and let a discerning person obtain guidance.” Proverbs 1:5 Relational wisdom involves a person who is always listening and increasing his/her learning process. It is a continual process from the time we are born until we die. I am reminded about an old saying which says, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” The message indicates somewhere along the way an old person (old dog) can no longer listen nor learn. They can no longer hear words that can give them guidance. This is a mindset that we choose rather than a foregone conclusion.
I am reminded of a couple who had been married 30 years where the husband was 67 and his wife was 63. Let’s call them Archie and Edith. Archie and Edythe came in and Edith said, “Unless you change Archie, I am not going to be married to him another day.” I asked Archie if he wanted that and he said no, so he began to work on his relationship with Edythe.
One day in session he said something very demeaning to Edith and realized he had cut her down. It took me 45 minutes to get Archie to apologize to her for what he had said and finally asked for her forgiveness. He in the 30 years of marriage had never apologized to her in his entire life. Thirty years. That was the turning point in their marriage.
About a month later Archie came in to the office with a light bulb hanging around his neck. I asked him where he got the yellow light bulb and he said that Edith had given it to him. He wanted to know if I wanted to see it and I said yes so he took it off and gave it to me. I read it and this is what it said. “You light up my life.” Archie had learned to listen and increase his learning and began to take guidance from others.
On this journey, healthy relationships begin when we open our ears and senses to the listen and learning process. When we are willing to seek guidance from others, unlimited opportunities will open up for us in our relationship with others.