Proverbs 8:5 “O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, learn sense.”

There are two primary ways we learn. One is by listening to someone with more experience, knowledge, wisdom and then seek help in application of the wisdom communicated.  That might be as simple as learning how to use a table saw by watching a skilled woodworker and then by trying to cut some lumber under the master’s careful watch and guidance. This is important, because you could learn by trial-and-error, possibly losing fingers or by getting a nasty gash on your hand or forearm. This second way is often the school of hard knocks.

The School of Hard Knocks is an idiomatic phrase meaning the painful education one gets from life’s experiences, often contrasted with formal education. Most of us have advanced degrees in Hard Knocks School.

When I was a young and simple boy, living in Naperville, Illinois in the 1960’s, I used to ride my bike far-and-wide with my younger brother Russell. One day I was riding faster than I should have as I entered a gravel road far from home. A bike does not maneuver the same way in soft gravel as it does on a paved road. As a result, I hit the gravel hard and my knee suffered an injury and my good pants were torn. The injury resulted in a scar and a mother’s disappointment. But it also changed the way I approached gravel roads. That is the hard way to learn.

I can still see the scar on my left leg. Hard Knock School lesson learned and recorded.

The far better way is to learn from someone who knows what prudence and good sense are. Sometimes that means you need to seek advice. But getting advice is only half of the equation. Notice that the Proverb says “learn.” Learn means you apply. This isn’t just a nice-to-know fact, it is something to do or not do. Therefore, “O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, learn sense.”