Richard Didn’t Want To Learn

June 26, 2012

Richard Didn’t Want to Learn

            All the way through high school Richard hit the books as little as possible.  His greatest concern was keeping up a grade point average high enough to be able to participate in the school’s athletic program.  Sports and social activities were the high lights of his high school years.

After he graduated from high school he was fortunate that one of his uncles helped him get a job at a factory where he worked.  There they taught him how to operate a fork lift.  Richard loved the job.  Within two months he had learned to manipulate the fork lift around the factory and make it do what it was designed to do.

As time went on Richard married and started his own home.  Children started coming.  He saved enough to make a down payment on a house.  It appeared as though everything was falling into place for him.

Richard had one serious problem.  He had no desire to learn.  He didn’t like to read.  He was proud of his ability to operate the fork lift.  He didn’t see the need of learning anything else.  When he came home from work he spent his free time watching athletic events on television.  He had no interest in hobbies.  He fixed what he could around the house.  Painting and interior decorating had to be left to professionals.

As time went on Richard began facing more and more serious problems.  He could sense that something was lacking in his marriage relationship.  He brought home his pay check and let his wife spend most of it for what she wanted and needed..  What more could she ask?  He was concerned, but he didn’t know what to do about it.  He had no response when his wife asked him for advice or moral support in raising the children.

One day a neighbor couple came by his house and invited them to go to church with them.  Richard kindly declined the invitation.  When they continued talking about the satisfaction they were receiving from their personal relationship with Jesus Christ, Richard turned them off by saying he had no interest in religion.

Oh, Richard was a good fork lift operator, but that was all he knew.  He thought he had security for life because there will always be a need for fork lift operators.

But Richard began to be a looser in spite of his good job.  His wife left him and filed for divorce.  He was left with an empty house.  After making alimony payments he didn’t have enough money left to keep making payments on the house.  He was forced to sell it and rent a humble little apartment.  He felt lonely and deserted.  Bitterness began to creep into his life.  He was left with little reason for living.  He even thought, at times, about committing suicide.

What was Richard’s problem?  To get to the root of his problem, we will need to go to his childhood and youth.  Most likely he was never taught to read.  Children who haven’t been taught to sound out words (phonics) struggle all their life with reading.  They don’t enjoy it.

Another problem Richard had stems from his philosophy of what constitutes success. For Richard, it was materialism.  He measured success by the abundance of material things he was able to accumulate.  He assumed that his wife thought the same way.  That’s why he couldn’t understand why she wasn’t happy with all he was providing for her.

            What Richard didn’t understand was that success in life consists in building relationships.  There are a number of good books available that teach us how to relate to people.  A book that was a great help to me as a young man was Norman Vincent Peal’s book “How To Win Friends And Influence People.”  Richard didn’t like to read so he never read any of those good books.  When he started having marriage problems he should have asked himself, “What am I doing wrong?  What do I need to learn from this?”  He had an aversion to learning so he never looked for help.  Instead he just assumed that he was right and she was wrong and that there was nothing he could do about it.

The most important relationship that Richard lacked was a relationship with God.  It’s only when we have the right relationship with God that we can have the right relationship with those around us.  The Bible has more to teach us about human relationships than any other book in the world.

What happened to Richard is happening to multitudes around us every day.  Shouldn’t we be asking ourselves “What do we need to do to prevent these tragedies?”  We have highly paid technicians doing research to find solutions to the pain that results from abnormalities in the human body.  Why are we so averse to looking for solutions for the pain caused by broken relationships?

The truth is that there are solutions.  God, in his Word, has given us the formula for a happy successful life.  We just need to accept it.  Oh, yes, it’s painful at times when we have to humble ourselves and confess our sins.  It’s painful also when we have to ask forgiveness to heal a broken relationship.  The pain of restoration is minor compared to the pain that results later in a tragedy like Richard’s.

We also need to have mercy on our children and teach them the value of human relationships.  One of the Ten Commandments is for children.  It is “Honor thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”  They need to be taught that.  They also need to be taught how to read and the rich rewards that come from reading.

Multitudes all around us are suffering.  It doesn’t need to be that way.  Jesus, in John 10:10, promised to give us life in abundance.  “I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.”  It starts by putting your faith and trust in Jesus for salvation.  Thereby we become sons of God (John 1:12).  After that we need to let God teach us how to live so that we can have the right relationship with him and with those around us.

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