I love this quote by G.K. Chesterton:
“Don’t ever take a fence down until you learn the reason it was put up.”
It reminds of the story of the rich lady interviewing chauffeurs. She wanted a very good, safe, and skilled driver. She asked each potential chauffeur the same question during the interview: “Would you be fine with driving 60 mph right next to the edge of a cliff?” One after another, they gave her the same answer, “Absolutely, I have had the best training and I am highly skilled.” Finally she asked the question to an older chauffer and his reply was: “Why would you want to drive fast next to a dangerous cliff? I would stay as far away from danger as possible!” She hired him on the spot!
Our culture is all about hacking down fences and driving fast next to the edge of cliffs. The fact is, most fences are built for a reason and it’s hard to fall off a cliff if you keep your distance.
Here are a couple of fences that Dad built for himself that I think we can all benefit from:
1. He decided he would never be alone with a woman other than my mom for any reason. This included being picked up from the airport on his many trips, meetings in his office (door always open), and other professional environments as well. He built the fence far away from the edge of the cliff! The fence may seem silly to some people, but when you see the bodies at the bottom of the cliff it doesn’t seem so silly!
2. Dad never reads novels. I heard him say this again last week (for maybe the 500th time!) and it dawned on me that he has built a fence around his mind. Dad’s big issue with novels is that few have things he can learn and teach from, and many have beliefs and philosophies that are counter to what he knows is true. Plus he adds, “Some of those writers are really good and they just might convince me that something not true, is true.”
I know what you mean, Dad. I have read a few authors who think it’s just fine to have private meetings, even lunch, with members of the opposite sex, even if you are married. Maybe they should check out the bodies at the bottom of the cliff before they knock down that fence!