Little Billy wanted to surprise his grandma with a cup of coffee. So, while Grandma sat out front, swinging on the porch, Billy asked his grandpa to help him make the coffee. Then he put the coffee in a mug, added a couple of cookies to a tray, and took them out to his grandma.
“Grammy,” Billy said. “Look what brought you!” The grandma smiled as Billy served her and then settled next to her on the swing.
After a few sips, she noticed something odd.
“Billy,” she said. “Why are there three little green army guys in my coffee?”
“Oh Grammy,” he said. “Don’t you know? It’s like on that TV commercial: ‘The best part of waking up is soldiers in your cup.'” LOL!
My Grandma Dorothy – on my mom’s side of the family – was a swinger. The good kind. Her old porch swing on Apperson Way in Kokomo, Indiana, was one of my favorite places on earth as a young girl. I remember sitting there and swinging with Grandma many times.
Together, we watched the world go by. Sometimes big trucks went down Apperson Way – a main thoroughfare in the town. We’d daydream about where those trucks were headed. But other times, we’d just watch people walk by. Or we’d watch neighbors, observing them at work and play. I learned some positive and negative lessons, just swinging and watching.
One day I watched a young mom, screaming at her son until he cried. I thought about parenting, and how I wanted to treat my own children someday.
Another time, Grandma pointed out a man who stopped watering his lawn to help a woman who had dropped a basket of laundry. Grandma taught me the value of kindness.
“You don’t have to make wrong choices,” she’d say.
These were lessons that stuck with me. Choices became a part of my daily mindset. Eventually, I started a ministry to help women make wise, biblical choices. A few years ago, not long before Grandma Dorothy died, I thanked her for pouring so much wisdom into my life.
My Grandpa Harry, my dad’s dad, also taught me to observe people. He loved to watch people shopping at the mall. “You can learn a lot about folks this way,” he’d say.
Galatians 6:7-8 says, “whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” We can easily learn “sowing and reaping lessons” by watching the choices people make – and taking note of the consequences of those choices. Whether it’s watching celebrities or our next-door neighbor or even a family member, the opportunities to learn from the successes and failings of others are endless.
My mom encouraged me to make wise choices too.
“You won’t make as many mistakes,” Mom said, “if you can learn from the mistakes of others.”
It’s a biblical concept.
1 Corinthians 10:11 tells us biblical characters’ stories are given to us “as an example.” They were “written down for our instruction.” We can learn how to act and respond to life’s circumstances by paying attention to their stories.
The entire book of Proverbs was written to help us learn wisdom, prudence and discretion (Proverbs 1:1-33), and the author, Solomon, king of Israel, wrote, “the one who understands obtains guidance.” We know Solomon asked God for wisdom (1 Kings 3:1-15), and so can we (James 1:5). But I imagine that Solomon, like my grandparents, was also a great observer of human nature.
I wonder if King Solomon had a porch swing.
Where is your source of wisdom? Do you have a wisdom mentor? If you do, take time today to express your gratitude, while you still can.