What Experience Teaches Us

adviceYou can do most anything if you want it bad enough.

by John Croyle


Recently, I spoke at a men’s conference in Nashville. There were some inspiring speakers, and I was in strong company. President George W. Bush, Bobby and Tommy Bowden, and many others were on the agenda. They all were gifted in their respective areas of expertise.

The key ingredient that was evident in every man’s talk was simply a confirmation of a phrase I have used for most of my life: A man with experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument.

Would you stop and reread the phrase above? Now think of the simplicity in those words. So many of us sometimes listen to wrong or misdirected advice, when in our hearts we know exactly what we need to do. Our experiences—whether positive or negative—have given us the history to judge what we know to do. All of us can recall a quote or phrase used by our parent, grandparent, coach, teacher, drill instructor, or whoever the Lord used in your formative years.  Hopefully the recollection is a positive, uplifting one. Now, think of your children and ask yourself, “Am I transferring the good things I listened to and learned, or am I passing on the negative thoughts and issues that still drag me down today as a parent and an adult?”

Our past experiences have obviously made us into the people we are today. That’s a given. None of us can go back and change one thing in our lives. Because of this fact, too many times we may jokingly say, “Well, I’m just like my daddy,” or, “I got that from my grandmother,” but be careful not to excuse a bad habit or action based upon this fact.

With the aforementioned thought in mind, may I ask you two questions? What are you passing on to your children? And what do you really want to pass on to your children? If there is anything in your answer to the first question that you are not pleased with, then you have a decision to make. You can continue on the same path, or you can change.

When I was growing up, there was something my dad said that I must have heard a thousand times. I heard it my whole life: “You can do most anything if you want to do it bad enough.” Join me for a minute. Big Oak Ranch, our home for children, has operated for 40 years, and it started because the Lord chose me and our family to change nearly 2,000 children’s lives. What if I had listened to all the people who told me it couldn’t be done, instead of having the experience of heeding the words my dad had told me since the day I was born? God hasn’t called you and your family to move into the woods and start a children’s home. But you know, there’s got to be more to this life we are living.

Remember, choices create circumstances and decisions determine your future. If there are things in your training of your children that you know need to be changed, make up your mind and do them. If you don’t have a positive experience base to draw from, then get some help from a professional or someone you trust who will give you good advice.

How sad is it to see someone going down the wrong path and they know it, yet they refuse to change? Now, go look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Do you really want to change?” I promise that with the love and support of the Lord, your family, and your friends, you can change, especially if you want to bad enough. A good man told me that and gave me the experience.

Let’s go give our children the same chance!

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