Beware With Whom You Associate

May 1st, 2010
by George S. Crimmin

[private] v8-5-Speaking OutAs a boy growing up on Roatan, my guardians were always concerned with whom I was associating. I never fully understood the reasons why, until later on in life. Friends or associates can be influential in determining your ultimate destiny in life. Numerous individuals have ended up in prison and even in the grave due to their poor selections of friends or associates. The Jackie Robinson story has always intrigued me. At one point during his youth, baseball great Jackie Robinson began to run with a neighborhood gang. In later years, he recalled that while he had wished for a better life as a teen, he had no understanding that a gang was not the way to achieve it. An older friend finally came to Jackie and made him realize how much he was hurting his hard-working mother, as well as how much he was limiting himself. Robison said, “He told me that it didn’t take guts to follow the crowd, that courage and intelligence lay in being willing to be different”. Jackie listened, left the gang and began to work on developing his mental and physical potential. There is a saying that goes; “Many a good man has failed because he had his wishbone where his backbone should have been.” Well, Jackie traded his wishbone for a backbone and within a few short years became a sensational athlete, starring in football, basketball, baseball and track and field at UCLA. He became the first person to win athletic awards in all four sports at the university. He went on to play professional foot-ball with the Los Angeles Bulldogs before being drafted for World War II duty. After the war he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers (baseball). Not only did Jackie Robinson become the first black baseball player in the major leagues, but he was also voted Rookie of the year, became an all-star, and ended up in the baseball Hall of Fame. I guess it’s safe to say that backbones accomplish more than wishbones. I had a teacher in college who kept reminding us that; “Our friends are like buttons on an elevator. They will either take you up, or they most certainly will take you down.” In fact there is a biblical text found in Proverbs 13.20 that supports this theory “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: But a companion of fools shall be destroyed. ”

Allow me to conclude with a bit of conjecture. A scorpion, being a very poor swimmer, once asked a turtle to carry him on his back across a river. “Are you mad? explained the turtle, you’ll sting me while I’m swimming and I’ll drown”. The scorpion laughed as he replied, “my dear turtle, if I were to sting you, you would drown and I would go down with you, now what would be the point of that? “I won’t sting you; it would mean my own death!” The turtle thought about the logic of his argument for a few moments and said, “You’re right hop on.” The scorpion climbed aboard and half-way across the river, he gave the turtle a mighty sting. As the turtle began to sink to the bottom of the river with scorpion on its back, it moaned in dismay and disbelief, “After you promised you still stung me! Why did you do that? Now, we’re both doomed.” The drowning scorpion sadly replied, “I couldn’t help it. It’s my nature to sting”. It pays to study the character of a person before you make them a friend or associate. The stage on which their character plays out, could very well be your life. On the positive side however, “A good friend will sharpen your character, draw your soul into the light, and challenge your heart to love in a greater way.” Permit me to close with a quote from Charles Caleb Colton. “Nothing more completely baffles one who is full of trick and duplicity, than straight forward and simple integrity in another.” Besides, I have always maintained that real friends are those who, when you’ve made a complete fool of yourself, don’t feel you’ve done a permanent job. [/private]

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