This past month I celebrated my forty-fifth birthday. That is nearly fifty year, five decades, half a century of time. I've learned a few things in all those years and I want to share a few of them with you.
I've learned that the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person or sometimes down one one knee listening and looking into the eyes of a young Scout.
I've learned that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain (or be an Eagle Scout), but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it.
I've learned that it is often best to give advice in only two circumstances; when it is requested and when there is a risk of personal injury.
I've learned that it's those small, daily happenings, that make life so spectacular.
I've learned that being kind is more important than being right.
I've learned that when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.
I've learned that when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.
I've learned that love, not time, heals all wounds.
I've learned that sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.
I've learned that I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help him in some other way.
I've learned that to ignore the facts does not change the facts.
I've learned that no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with sometimes.
I've learned that money doesn't buy class or respect.
I've learned that under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and cared for.
I've learned that the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I.
I've learned that everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.
I've learned that life is tough, but I'm tougher.
I've learned that opportunities are never lost because someone will take the ones you miss.
I've learned that one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.
I've learned that a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
I've learned that I can't choose how I feel, but I can choose what I do about it.
I've learned that the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.
I've learned that simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.
I've learned that I wish I could have told my Dad that I love him one more time before he passed away.
I've learned that no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.
I've learned that when your newly born child holds your little finger in his little fist, that you're hooked for life.
I've learned that having my son or daughter fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.
I've learned that life is like a roll of paper; the closer it gets to the end, the faster it seems to go.
I've learned that we should be glad God doesn't give us everything we ask for.
I've learned that the Lord didn't do it all in one day and neither can I.
As you travel home this evening, ponder these words. These are just a few of the things I've learned—more often than not—the hard way. It is my hope that by sharing these experiences with you, you might gain knowledge which would spare you the pain of learning these things for yourself, firsthand.
Good night, gentlemen.