What We Don’t Learn from the Past, We’re Bound to Repeat!

This generational gem was written quite some time ago although you may have trouble embracing that fact because it’s so relevant to modern day times … especially this time of the year.

I could suggest that you simply read this cute poem and enjoy it for what it is. But naw-w-w-w, there’s much more to be savored here. Let’s do a bit of a “reframe.” Read it through the first time visualizing your own father as “Pa.” Memories will no doubt provide you with a smile. Read it through the second time visualizing yourself or your husband as “Pa.” Again, another smile but this time accompanied with a little guilt and a somewhat different memory. Now read it a third time … this time visualize your son as “Pa” enjoying Christmas Day with your grandchildren. Another smile and maybe a peak into the future.

In each scenario, it’s quite obvious that we simply seldom learn from experience. In this situation, it’s fun and memorable. In the business place, it could easily stifle our progress and lead to situations we simply can’t afford.

For now, read this classic poem, enjoy it for what it is and pay special attention to the author and his life line at the end. It may surprise you.

The train of cars that Santa brought is out of kilter now:
While pa was showing how they went, he broke the spring somehow.
They used to run around a track … at least they did when he
Would let me take them in my hand and wind ’em with a key.
I could ‘a’ had some fun with ’em, if only they would go.
But, gee, I never had a chance, for pa enjoyed ’em so!

The automobile that I got that ran around the floor
Was lots of fun when it was new, but it won’t go no more.
Pa wound it up for Uncle Jim to show him how it went,
And when those two got through with it, the runnin’ gear was bent,
An’ now it doesn’t go at all. I mustn’t grumble though,
‘Cause while it was in shape to run, my pa enjoyed it so.

I’ve got my blocks as good as new, my mitts are perfect yet;
Although the snow is on the ground, I haven’t got ’em wet.
I’ve taken care of everything that Santa brought to me,
except the toys that run about when wound up with a key.

But next year you can bet I won’t make any such mistake;
I’m going to ask for toys an’ things that my pa cannot break!

(EDGAR ALBERT GUEST, 1881-1959!)

Yes, the author of this classic died almost 50 years ago but his words ring as true as though he were predicting what will be happening next week in so many homes around the world on Christmas Day. Do we ever learn from the past? In this case, it’s cute … in others it can be critical.

About Harry K. Jones

Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

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