When we're young, immature, and inexperienced, we tend not to value those things that we don't think we need. One of those is life experience.
Back in my single days, I worked for a specialized employment agency. I would interview lots of college grads who, despite their lack of work experience, would grow almost angry that I couldn't place them with any of our client companies. "Our clients want us to provide them with experienced people," I would explain, only to have the interviewee argue with me about how work experience wasn't necessary.
One time I actually read out loud the job description for the position one young grad was applying for and asked, point by point, "Have you actually done this?"
"Well, no," was the answer, "but it shouldn't really matter. Here, let me show you my college transcript. I got excellent grades!"
"That's wonderful, and I'm sure you'll have no trouble finding work elsewhere, but our clients want someone who has actual experience and who already possesses these important skills. Otherwise, you won't be able to do this particular job. It's not a trainee position."
I had more than one college grad throw a bit of a tizzy fit at me for not letting them interview with the prospective employer. They thought I was being unreasonable. They were convinced that they knew more than I did! Their knowledge and their diploma, they told me again and again, was far more valuable than work experience --- why couldn't I see that?
A number of our clients specifically asked us that we not ever send them anyone "fresh out of school". The lack of experience, coupled with a youthful arrogance, made for poor employees --- or at least that's what I was told over and over.
Often, when we don't know much about a particular thing, we tend to think that thing is much simpler than it really is. We tend to think we know more about it than we do. That's where the expression, "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing", comes from. Or, as an old friend of mine used to say, "I was too stupid to know how stupid I was."
There are some things you simply cannot learn from a book, or from observing others. It is always unwise to attempt to teach something we ourselves have never actually done.
Unfortunately, when we old folks try to explain this to young folks, the young 'uns often don't get it. They think they know more than they do. They have no experience, so they don't value the experience of others.
Many of us more experienced parents will often joke that we were "parenting experts" before we had children, but now we realize how little we know! My sister-in-law was once rebuked for her choice in strollers by a man who told her haughtily, "I am a parenting expert." When asked how many children he had raised, he had to confess that he didn't have any children --- but that didn't matter! He was an expert because he had written several books!
Lack of experience doesn't stop some people from giving advice. I've actually been given breastfeeding advice by bottle-feeders and homeschooling advice by public schoolers! While I've listened politely, I've often had to suppress the urge to giggle at how silly their advice was. They literally had no idea what they were talking about, but they were so sure of themselves.
And now, egged on by the internet and a culture that values youth over experience, we have children thinking that they can give marriage advice. Sigh...we have children thinking that we old folks are doing such a terrible job in following Jesus that the children need to step in and take over.
The only thing we can hope for these brash young things is that they become teachable very quickly. Some people only learn from painful experience. May these zealous youth be humble enough to learn from every day experience, lest God have to discipline them more severely.
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