Old Dog – New Tricks

You know how the old saying goes: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” and it may be true for some, but I would suggest that ‘Old dogs’ (like me) would sometimes do well to go back and relearn some of those ‘old tricks’ we had once known and mastered many years before. Tradesmen use the term: “Measure twice, cut once” and the sense is obvious. You can’t undo the cut.

In general, older, more mature folks find it more difficult to adapt to change or learn new things. That could be why they are the hardest group to convince of new ideas in a church setting. But let’s be kind. Older folks have also been around the block a few times, and they have already seen some well meant changes that didn’t succeed. In fact the more appropriate phrase “crash and burn” comes to mind, and in the effort to avoid it happening again, along with the loss of some good friends and members, they are loathe to go down that road again until they are sure of success. A big part of this reluctance lies behind the definition of ‘success’. It is going to take a good argument, and a gentle push for that to happen a second time.

One of the best lessons I learned in life, was to wait a second or two before giving my first answer in response to a question. Especially one that pushes my buttons and gets my dander up. It happens. Right? And nowhere more so than on social media because each side is safely tucked behind their laptop or phone screen. Blind to the prospect of the return salvo which causes more harm than good. Sure, you got it out of your system, but the one who responds sees it as more than that. They may see it as a personal slight. Of the hundreds of people who would see the offending post, that one person will see it as deliberately aimed at them. Sadly, we were not one step ahead in our thinking when we pressed the ‘send’ button, and a few seconds of serious thought could have avoided the ‘atmosphere’ now descending on your relationship.

The lesson? Whether personally, or in a group, measure twice, and cut once!


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