Some of us don’t take advice the way we should, whether it’s a matter of ego, stubbornness or just not taking the time to listen as we trudge through yet another busy day.

Others take it to heart and learn from it, no matter the source, and as I’ve gotten older I lean towards the later, and I’ve benefited from it in more ways than I can imagine.

Twice two different people in the past several weeks have taught me a great deal about the importance of slowing down, taking the time to smell the coffee, so to speak, the first one occurring when I thought I’d charge the battery on my riding mower to cut the grass.

This was before the current dry conditions set in, and I had a lawn that needed trimming, so I dutifully brought out the charger to charge my riding mower battery.

One night should be enough, so I thought, but when I tried to start my mower the next day it wouldn’t crank.

After several false starts, I started to think about a 3-year-old grandson of a co-worker who accompanies his grandfather on trips to local hardware stores.

The refrain, “got gas, got oil?” kept reverberating through my brain, until I finally broke down and found the nerve to check and see if there was indeed an empty gas tank.

He’s just a kid, I thought until I unscrewed the gas cap to find the tank bone dry.

It had been several weeks between mowing, and I then recalled the tank was near empty as I finished up, so there you go.

Just last week, I was visiting my 100-year-old neighbor, and I was relating what a busy week I’d had so far.

A home health care professional happened to be on duty, and she reminded me that I’d been lucky enough to get out of bed that day and put two feet on the floor.

Stop complaining, she told me, to which I answered, “you’re right.”

My neighbor is certainly happy with every additional day on earth, and that 3-year-old boy, at the other end of the spectrum, is happy with helping his grandpa.

Little does he know his advice punctuated an otherwise frustrating afternoon with a dose of good advice, and the home health care professional certainly caused me to take a second and reflect on my day, to slow down and smell the coffee.

Their advice turned out to be much more valuable than the most exotic brand of coffee I could purchase.

I’ve begun to realize I can learn life lessons from anyone, no matter who or what age and from the youngest of teachers.

Doug Ford reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at

Doug Ford covers news and sports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at