Faster not nec­es­sar­ily bet­ter

The Covington News - - Opinion - Dick Yar­brough Colum­nist Reach Dick Yar­brough at yarb2400@bell­south. net or P.O. Box 725373, At­lanta, GA 31139.

To Ni­cholas Wans­ley and Brian and Thomas Yar­brough:

If my aba­cus is work­ing prop­erly, this is the 12th year I have dis­pensed some grand­fa­therly ad­vice to you in the hopes that some­thing I tell you will be help­ful as you step out into a world that looks a lot more com­pli­cated than the one I en­coun­tered at your age.

When I first started this an­nual cor­re­spon­dence, you were learn­ing to ride your bi­cy­cles and were of the unan­i­mous opin­ion that girls were yucky. Now, one of you is a fa­ther and an­other will be mar­ried this year. You have swapped your bi­cy­cles and the care­free days that went with them for au­to­mo­biles and jobs. You have dis­cov­ered also that you had vastly un­der­es­ti­mated the power and glory of the op­po­site sex.

Over the years we have dis­cussed a num­ber of sub­jects: God (There is one); par­ents (It’s amaz­ing how smart they get as you get older. I told you that would hap­pen); per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity (You are free to make your de­ci­sions, but you must live with the conse-

“True friends will be loyal to you, will cel­e­brate your achieve­ments, help you through the tragedies and kindly over­look your foibles.”

quences — good or bad); in­tegrity (If you ever lose it, it is very dif­fi­cult to get it back); pa­tri­o­tism (Be proud and hum­ble that you live in the great­est coun­try on earth); ac­cept­ing each sin­gle day as the pre­cious gift it is and hav­ing a lit­tle fun in life (Just don’t overdo it.)

You are too re­spect­ful of the Old Man to say it, but I sus­pect you know more about a lot of stuff these days than I do. Much of it has to do with technology.

In that re­gard, maybe you could tell me why the world needs Twit­ter. I have man­aged to get through life with­out feel­ing the urge to in­form the world of what I had for lunch — in 140 char­ac­ters or less — and I’m not in­clined to start at this late date.

I em­brace as much technology as I can ab­sorb at my ad­vanced stage. (How­ever, I will never ac­cept “google” as a verb. I do have some stan­dards.) What scares me about technology, how­ever, is that while it ex­poses us to more in­for­ma­tion, that doesn’t au­to­mat­i­cally make us wiser. In fact, it some­times does just the op­po­site. Triv­ial things be­come im­por­tant (i.e. what I had for lunch) and im­por­tant things be­come triv­ial (i.e. most any­thing that re­quires cog­ni­tive think­ing.)

Don’t be­lieve ev­ery­thing you read, see or hear (with the ex­cep­tion of this col­umn, of course.) Get as much fac­tual in­for­ma­tion as you can and make a wise and in­formed de­ci­sion based on a va­ri­ety of sources. Your fu­ture and that of your fam­ily may de­pend on it. Learn some­thing of value ev­ery day. Technology can help, but it is not the an­swer; just a means to the an­swer.

While you can get in­for­ma­tion much faster than could my gen­er­a­tion, faster is not nec­es­sar­ily bet­ter. Some of the best things in life are slow, if we will only put our smart phones down long enough to ob­serve.

Since the be­gin­ning of time, we have had a sun­rise to greet us each morn­ing and to re­mind us that we have been given a new day and a new op­por­tu­nity to do things bet­ter — you should al­ways be try­ing to im­prove — and to learn from the mis­takes of the pre­vi­ous day. Thank God for both the sun­rise and for the new op­por­tu­ni­ties. Never lose your won­der of sun­rises and sun­sets. There is no technology that can match it.

As you get older, you will dis­cover it is not money that will make you rich; it is the qual­ity of your friend­ships. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t get a mes­sage from some­one I don’t know who would like to be my “friend” on one of the so­cial net­works. I’m flat­tered but I’ll take my friends the old-fash­ioned way, thank you.

True friends will be loyal to you, will cel­e­brate your achieve­ments, help you through the tragedies and kindly over­look your foibles. There are days I would not have made it with­out my friends. The poet Emily Dick­in­son said, “My friends are my es­tate.” You can go to the bank on that.

Fi­nally, re­mem­ber to be hum­ble when you have suc­cess and res­o­lute when you fail. Al­ways be true to your­self and don’t let any­one else’s opin­ion of you change who you are.

Most of all, know how much I love you.

That is some­thing that hasn’t changed and never will.

Love,

PA

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