Parents, pass on your wisdom

Published 6:28 am Monday, May 3, 2010

“If something can go wrong, eventually it will—so, get out of the way.”

Our daughter phoned from Chicago with “a rock crusher moment.” Driving on an interstate highway, she spotted on the roadway the kind of straps used to secure loads on flatbed trucks. This time it wasn’t a rock crusher on the truck but sacks of cement. She immediately pulled to the distant lane and then saw the truck driver trying to stabilize his rig after the load had shifted. After she got ahead, she saw in the rear mirror the truck turn over on its side.

The rock crusher was in Tacoma, Wash.. I was driving our family on a curving viaduct above the docks. I saw a flatbed truck loaded with a ten-ton rock crusher going around the curve at what I considered an excessive speed. My younger son began to ask, “Daddy, what if…” and at this very moment the truck turned over on its side. As I was pulling the driver through his windshield, I noticed the rock crusher had gouged a dangerous hole in the viaduct.

When I returned to our car, the wide-eyed children asked, “How did you know that was going to happen?” They had noticed that as soon as I saw this precarious situation developing, I began to pull into the distant lane and we were at a safe distance from the accident.

I told them: “If something can go wrong, eventually it will—so, get out of the way.” How did I learn this? My father taught me. As I saw that truck with the rock crusher listing at that speed, I could hear my father saying this. I obeyed my father’s instruction, because I had owned his wisdom.” It had become part of me.

Now it has become part of the way my children, witnesses to this dramatic incident, think and react. What they saw and learned happened thirty-six years ago and on the west coast.

When our daughter reached home, she asked her daughter if she remembers her relating the “rock crusher” story. She does.

Now, one father’s wise advice has reached to at least the fourth generation.

Remember: “If something can go wrong, eventually it will—so, get out of the way.”

Fathers, and mothers, both demonstrate your wisdom and make it part of family lore.