Maybe, maybe not.

Ever wonder where the idea of the wisdom of the elders came from? I suspect it goes back to the days when the older men of the tribe sat around in a teepee and talked about the problems of the day and then used their collective wisdom to find an answer. And I’m sure it made sense back then – (except that they didn’t do too well in solving the problem of white encroachment on their lands.) Life was simple. How do you find the buffalo herds? Where do we camp for the winter? (Same place as we have for the past 300 years? I guess so.) How do you shoot a bow and arrow? What should I have for dinner? A little more pemmican? That was about it.

So when life was simple – and I mean really simple – the elders of the tribe held all the wisdom. Not so in our modern society where you not only have to decide where to find the buffalo herd, but you also need to know where to park when you go downtown or where to get a decent hamburger or where to shop for car insurance.

I saw a cartoon recently in which an older man is asking his granddaughter, who is working on her computer, what she is doing. She replies that she is backing up. The man says, “Now you listen to me and I’ll give you a piece of advice that my father gave me and it has always worked for me. ‘Never back up. You always want to be moving forward. When you back up you might run over something you can’t see in your rear-view mirror.'”

How many of us older and wiser people think we have all the answers when we are really still following advice and rules that we learned as children – back when they may have made some sense? Did your mother ever tell you not to run with scissors, not to play with matches or not to talk to strangers? Did she ever tell you to wait for an hour after eating before going in the water? Did she tell you not to play with that stick because you might poke some kid’s eye out? Did you father ever tell you to get a secure job, stay with that same company and then collect a nice retirement check after say, 35 years? Probably so.

Guess what? I played with a stick once and no kid got his eye poked out. And I went swimming after only 45 minutes. Of course there was that little incident of the apartment fire when I was twelve but that was my mother’s fault because she never told me not to play with matches and flammable liquids at the same time.

Now that I’m older, I’m thinking of running with scissors to see how that works out.

If you don’t hear back from me, you’ll know it didn’t end well.