As my younger son reached his teenage years, he went through a period of rebelling that we weren’t expecting. And each time we had to sit down to discipline him, he would explain to us, “I guess I have to learn my lessons the hard way.” We always felt that was pretty profound for a 14 year old kid to understand about himself. However, after he made that disclaimer for his behavior, I would always follow up with, “But some day you will learn how to make decisions without having to learn the hard way. And that is how you’ll know you are a grown up.”
It’s true that there are people in life who choose to learn their lessons the hard way. They choose the pain of rejection again and again as they pick the same kind of partner who does not have their best intentions at heart. They get into the same scrapes with the law over the same issues, like speeding or DWI or parking on the wrong side of the road. They seem to think that lessons cannot be learned in life in any other matter than hitting a wall time and again. But that’s just not true.
You don’t have to be hurt to learn a lesson, just as you don’t need to be thrown out of a boat to learn to swim. You have to be more observant, a good listener, and really interested in learning what is before you, to learn without hurt.
Ah, now THAT is the hard way to learn a lesson!