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Young People … Our Greatest Resource

What Can We Learn from Yesterday?

“Tomorrow hopes that we have learned something from yesterday.”  John Wayne

In addition to her father, my wife grew up having three male “idols” in her life, only one of them still living: Walt Disney, Walter Kronkite and John Wayne. Not a bad lineup.

This quote from “The Duke” struck me as different. Does tomorrow really have hope? Do we always learn from yesterday? Do we always learn from our mistakes?

Someone once asked a successful businessman the secret to his success.

“Making good decisions,” was his quick reply.

“How did you learn to make good decisions,” came another question.

“From experience.”

“And where does experience come from?

“BAD decisions.”

Our children will make mistakes; that’s just part of life. Although we try to protect them from the really costly mistakes, to spare them the pain of errors in judgment is to hold them back from learning some of the best lessons life has to offer.

Yesterday CAN be a great teacher.

James Sutton, Psychologist


January 8, 2007 - Posted by | Educators, Inspirational, Parents


  1. Doc,
    Very good post. Yes, we must allow our children to make some mistakes, this is part of the growth process. One of the failures of our society is that we do not do a good job in teaching our children that failure is sometimes acceptable and very much needed to grow.


    Comment by tobeme | January 8, 2007 | Reply

  2. The problem with thinking about yesterday or even tomorrow is that it brings our attention out of the Here and Now. What I mean here is that if I focus so much on the lessons I’ve already been through I’m immediately taking an “entirely new experience” and relating it to an experience I had once been through and judged as “Good or Bad”.

    For example, if I was at one time taken advantage of by a friend and decided that it was a bad experience then later in life, if I were to run across a similar experience, I would immediately judge that person on the previous persons actions. How do I know the experience would be the same? The fact is that I don’t…perhaps thinking my past dictates my future is simply allowing me to hold onto my fears rather than experience life fearlessly.

    I think believing that “old lessons” are repeated is a very good way of avoiding new ones…after all, life is never the same as it was before…there are constant variations of thought and insight that makes each experience different. Perhaps the only way to truly learn is to stop thinking of things as ‘mistakes'(bad) or ‘successes'(good) and simply experience life from an unbiased point of view…

    An experience can only be learned from fully if it is not clouded by assumptions from the past…otherwise your attention is not fully on the experience and lessons are missed because of it.

    A Forgetful God


    Comment by A Forgetful God | January 10, 2007 | Reply

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