Listen, learn, and study your history


It seems like with everything I do, my advanced age seems to dominate my every thought and move. A knee replacement took tennis away from me, although I have played in recent weeks. Great job Dr. Compton!

I now play like an old friend of mine who I played tennis with many years ago. Dolph, an elderly gentleman (in his 90s) — my doubles partner with a very strong German accent — told me when I asked him how he wanted me to play, something like, “I vill get all de balls I can reach vit out moving … You get all de rest!)

That is my tennis game today! By the way, he had a girlfriend he would fly to Germany frequently to see.

When I was very young I spent hours listening to my dad and grandfather sitting in our kitchen in a couple of old rocking chairs, a beer in hand, discussing sports, politics, etc. … As I got older, I thought I knew as much as they knew about most subjects — and differed with them many times — but I never jumped into their heated discussions.

I probably learned more by keeping my mouth shut. That turned out to be a major lesson. Dad always said, “Listen and learn …open your mouth only to take out both feet!”

Today, people refuse to listen. I notice today that many people (not all) form opinions on not what a person has to offer or what they accomplished, but what they look like or a variety of other non-important things that mean very little about what the person has or could do!

The young seem to lead the way in this regards. I have a major problem when a person passes judgment on someone and refuses to investigate what that person has accomplished. It seems our political picture leads the way in this area. Many vote for or against someone only because they don’t like how a person dresses, parts their hair, or they don’t like the person’s spouse. Sometimes it reminds me of a soap opera.

Age has taught me to remember my history and compare today’s leaders to those who were successful in years past. That may be one of the few bright spots to old age.

To the young … study your history!

Tony Lamke of Wilmington writes a periodic column for the News Journal. He can be reached at [email protected].

Tony Lamke

Contributing columnist

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