wisdom

Road Closed

by Larry Hehn on July 30, 2014

Road ClosedThe road to my office was closed today, as workers replaced the railroad tracks that cross it. The intersection leading into the work area was marked with pylons, a large electronic sign, and detour markers to keep drivers from wandering into a dead end.

Despite the visible warnings and suggested alternate route, I was amazed at how many drivers ignored them and continued down the doomed path.

When they reached the trench where the railroad tracks used to be, it became clear. Yep, that “ROAD CLOSED” sign really meant the road was closed.

Go figure.

To be honest, I’ve done that many times myself. Whether it be challenging a real life “ROAD CLOSED” sign and almost getting stuck in knee-high sand, or simply ignoring God’s direction at different points in my life and choosing my own way instead.

There are good reasons for both the literal and figurative “ROAD CLOSED” signs in our life.

Yes, I am thankful for the truth behind that old cliché that says God allows U-turns. But the older I get, the more I hope to notice – and heed – his “ROAD CLOSED” signs when they first appear.

And not wind up on the wrong side of the tracks.

There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. – Proverbs 14:12

“Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.” – Robert Frost

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Happy, Happy, Happy

by Larry Hehn on October 23, 2013

Happy Happy HappyAs you may gather from this photo, over the past few months I’ve started to resemble Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame. Though he’s 21 years my senior, I’m ok with that.

We come from very different backgrounds, but his story still resonates with me.

An autobiography of sorts, Robertson’s book Happy, Happy, Happy reveals the story behind the iconic creator of Duck Commander duck calls, and his 14 rules for “living happy, happy, happy”.

To say that Robertson is “old school” would be an understatement. From growing up in the woods of Louisiana with no bathtub or toilet in the cabin, living off the land and sharing a bed with three older brothers (younger brother Si slept separately since he had a tendency to wet the bed), Robertson has learned to appreciate – and espouse – the simple life.

Each of the 14 rules draws wisdom from Robertson’s background, including working hard, learning to cook, reading your Bible, getting outdoors, avoiding alcohol, and yes, even not trying to understand women.

Agree with him or not, you will always know where he stands.

He shares some amazing tales of his former “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll” lifestyle, and the trials he put his wife and young children through before accepting Jesus at age 28.

There is much more to Robertson than meets the eye. A former star football player who started at quarterback ahead of Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw at Louisiana Tech, he earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education and a master’s degree in education, working as a teacher before getting into the duck call business.

Duck Dynasty fans will be fascinated by Robertson’s account of how he founded and grew the Duck Commander business before handing over the reins to his son Willie.

Happy, Happy, Happy is a sitting-across-the-kitchen-table chat with a man who has travelled many miles and has many nuggets of wisdom to share. Robertson does that with a strong dose of humor and humility, and a love of Jesus that is infectious.

As Robertson confesses, “Following Jesus has been a blast. The Lord has blessed me mightily.

It’s what makes me happy, happy, happy.”

This book was bought with my own hard-earned cash. It was not a freebie, so I felt no obligation to endorse it. I was not required to write a positive review. As a rule I only post reviews of books that I enjoy, and that I feel will be beneficial to my readers. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Embedded in this review is an affiliate link to Amazon.com. If you follow the link from here and buy a copy of this book, Amazon will award me a 4% commission on the purchase.

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Don’t Be an Armchair Quarterback

by Larry Hehn on June 5, 2013

armchair quarterbackChappy and I used to play hockey together. He was our team’s top center. I was the goalie.

As an excellent hockey player and team captain, Chappy had earned permission to chew out any of the guys on the team who weren’t pulling their weight. Anyone he admonished knew the feedback was warranted and for their own good.

It was given to them directly, not grumbled behind their back. Discussion was open and honest, and dealt with then and there. He was also open to receiving feedback in return.

After one disastrous game, in which I couldn’t get my act together no matter how hard I tried, Chappy gave me a well-deserved tongue lashing. I was just as frustrated with myself for letting in some soft goals and not being able to get comfortable in net.

He must have sensed that frustration, since he then did something I never expected. He suggested that we swap positions at our next practice.

That Monday afternoon, Chappy donned my pads. I moved up to center. For an hour and a half we got a taste of what it was like to be in the other’s skates.

Exhausted, drenched in sweat, and completely humbled at our inability to cover the other’s position, we dragged ourselves back to the dressing room and slumped onto the benches across from each other.

Chappy’s eyes met mine. Slowly, he shook his head and said, “I will never yell at you again.”

Still panting, I gasped, “And I’ll never yell at you either.”

Chappy was no armchair quarterback. If he was going to criticize somebody for something, he wanted to know exactly what it was like to be in their skates…er, shoes. He gave the benefit of the doubt. He spoke with hopes of building the other person up, not tearing them down.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when someone who has never played hockey watches the extra-slow-motion replay of a backhand from inside the slot bulging the twine, then announces, “Aw, the goalie should have had that!”

Yes, maybe he should have. That’s why they pay him the big bucks. But, having played that position before, I don’t fault him for missing it. It’s amazing how easy something looks until you try it yourself.

That’s why I like shows like Pros vs Joes and Undercover Boss. The cocky amateur jock gets schooled about what it really takes to be a professional athlete. The corporate CEO gains an appreciation for the many hands that support the vision he/she is casting for his/her company.

Armchair quarterbacks aren’t necessarily couch potatoes. They’re just people who expect more from others than they do from themselves.

So if you find yourself thinking that someone you know really needs to hear this…

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