Life is a teacher.

Especially if you are a good student.

After 64 years of being on this earth, a few things hit the frontal lobe of my brain. Not sure why it took that long. I guess I am a slow learner. Wouldn’t you love to have the wisdom of a 65-year-old at the age of twenty-five?

It’s a great concept, except we would miss some vital lessons that come with living.  There are things we learn in every stage of life.

It only took me 40 years to catch some wisdom.

But at every stage, we learn and grow. This is what makes living priceless.

There are some things I wish I knew 40 years ago, and I want to share those with you.


I wish I would have known my kids despised me taking a bite of their burger

Our family treat was a regular stop at McDonald’s. I rarely ate McDonald’s food. Or I should say I never ate my own food from McDonald’s — I ate the kid’s food.

My kids rant about how I never ordered my own food but took a bite of their burger. Yes, I did.

And they exaggerate how big my bites were. The truth is they probably were huge to a five-year-old, and I do have a big mouth. All three of my sons say, “yea and Dad used to take one bite, and half my burger was gone.” I wouldn’t say I like that story. I feel so selfish when my kids tell that.

So Dad, take small bites of your kid’s food or take no bite at all.


I wish I would have known that toys never create lasting happiness

Accomplishments, accolades, awards, and things only provide temporary happiness. There is more to life than things.

My wife and I recently purchased a Nissan Armada. Sweet ride. We enjoy the SUV because it looks small to the eye, but it is roomy to the passengers. The Armada has tons of amenities and lots of luxury. And the price was impressive. We made our purchase and dropped by the local ice cream parlor. We both enjoyed a hot fudge, caramel sundae with pecans, and a cherry. Exquisite. Our drive home was 20 minutes, and we settled in for the evening. After a few hours, my wife jumps off the couch and opens the garage door. I say, hey, what’s up? She replies; I just wanted to admire my new SUV.

We did a 20-second gaze of the Armada and went back to the couch.

We did that one time and one time only.

After that night, the Armada became a regular part of our life. There is nothing unique about the Armada story.

But the take-a-way is how quickly new things lose their luster. Things are not designed to make you permanently happy.

People who spend all their time trying to make money spend all their money trying to make time. Don’t do this to yourself. Remind yourself that the richest human isn’t the one who has the most but needs less. Wealth is a mindset.

-Mark Hack

I wish I would have known my career was not that important

To my younger self, “you are taking your job too seriously.” How much fun did I miss due to working long hours? Way too much. I was good at attending the big stuff, but stopping projects or allowing interruption was not my strong suit. My dogma was and is  “get it done.”

But I skipped looking at the moon and stars. I chose not to watch the dog chasing the squirrel in the neighborhood because I was working. Get er’ done, boy.

There is a better way. If you are 20–50, I hope you’re listening.

[bctt tweet=”I wish I would have known not to worry about what others think” username=”viaThomasMcDaniels”]

We are so self-conscious. We are always thinking other people are thinking about us. One of my friends, Shonna Barlow, said, “I wish I knew not to worry so much about what people think.” If you are 15–25 years old, you need this advice.

We spend a lot of our energy at social events, wondering who is noticing us. We are consumed with who likes us and who doesn’t.

I would hope the older you get, the less you worry about what others think.

The truth is, others are thinking about themselves.


I wish I would have known that God is always faithful

My friend Ken Walton said, “In my younger days, I wish I would have known to turn everything over to God.”

Worry is a real thing. How easy is it to worry? How difficult is it to be continually optimistic? It is a challenge. Is God faithful to his children? King David of Israel thinks so.

I have been young, and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous abandoned or his children begging for bread. (Psalm 37:25, HSB)

We struggle with our faith when our time frame is different from God’s. Also, when God answers our prayers, it is very different from how we pray.

More than God giving us an answer, he gives us a strategy.

The solution may include give to others or find an extra job. All these things are ways that God shows His faithfulness.


I wish I would have known to let my kids take greater risks

My wife and I were protectors. Over-protective is a better description. One of our sons was reckless. I overlooked the truth that God made him that way. I was the Dad forced them to wear helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads.

I resisted the riskiest stuff the kids were passionate about-not the best idea.

Crazy feats on the skateboards, dirt bikes, and sky diving were not allowed. Our middle son had a passion for dirt bike racing, and I refused to invest in the hobby. He still remembers.

So parents, give the risky kid every opportunity you possibly can. It will build adventure into your life and make life a lot more fun.

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