When I teach the book of Proverbs I note the authors suggest there are two ways to learn: one is to listen to others, and the other is to “walk the thorny road of experience.” Obviously, the better way to learn is to listen to others, but that’s difficult for many. I used to think it was especially difficult for young people, but I no longer believe that. I’m 67 and still learning too many things the hard way.

Last week I was driving in an alley and texting a couple of people about getting together on Saturday. There were no other cars around and I wasn’t going very fast, but I did hit a wall with the left front side of my car. I was angry with and disappointed in myself; but worse than that, I was humiliated as I knew I would have to tell my wife and probably some others would find out as well.

I can’t count the number of times I have heard warnings on TV, radio, or others about not texting while driving. And I have read numerous reports about terrible accidents that resulted from texting and driving. Is it that I am a slow learner or do I think I am more highly skilled and a better driver than others are? Did I not hear the warnings or did I not think they applied to me?

I’m fairly confident that I have learned the lesson that I should not text while driving – regardless of where I am or how slowly I am driving. The downside is that I have learned the lesson the hard way, I have walked the thorny road of experience myself. You better believe I wish I had listened and put into practice the warnings I heard from others.

I am thankful that in learning this important lesson my car was not damaged any more than it is and that no other car or cars were involved. More than that, however, I am thankful no one was hurt or killed by my stupid action. Learning the lesson I learned could have been much costlier than it is going to be.

Consider this blog post a public service announcement: “a message in the public interest disseminated without charge, with the objective of raising awareness and changing public attitudes and behavior.” In other words, DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE AT THE SAME TIME! The better way to learn is to listen to others than to walk the thorny road of experience yourself.

Learning not to text while driving is not the only lesson you and I need to learn by listening to others. And learning not to do something is not the only lessons we need to learn from others; we also need to learn the positive things that we should be doing.

How are you doing when it comes to this idea of listening and learning from others? Are you open to hearing from others some warnings about what not to do as well as some encouragement to do some things you should do?

Feel free to leave a comment below but please do not scold or berate me for my stupidity — I already feel badly enough! Also feel free to share this post on Facebook or other social media – after all, it is a public service announcement.