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Whippersnappers, Listen Up!

Let me say that I’m not a person that is tormented by regrets.  I live virtually a regret-free life, but that isn’t to say there aren’t things I wish I knew when I was 20.  As the mid-30’s guy in a group of many friends in their 20’s these are the things I want to sit down and say as nicely as possible as I watch them set the course for their own lives:

  • Stop trying to make yourself important by making others feel less so.  You don’t make your candle shine brighter by blowing someone else out!  It just doesn’t work, eventually you just end up looking stupid and  judgmental.  I say that as a perpetrator, promise.
  • Influence isn’t gained by only listening to those with status.  It’s gained by listening to people from all different areas of life.  The big-business guy making millions can  definitely  speak life into areas of your life, but so can the guy scraping by on pennies in order to live life at the pace he chooses.
  • Take a vacation!  I do regret not getting away more when I was younger.  Start the tradition of making time for yourself and your family a priority NOW!
  • Save more money.  Of all the stupid decisions I made in my 20’s the ones that still haunt me darkly are the ones involving dumb money decisions.  Save money, save money, save money; and what you spend you should spend wisely.
  • Get comfortable with change.  There is something in our 20’s that desires stability, and this is a good thing; but be willing to always adapt, upgrade, and change life goals as needed.
  • Be bold.  Yes, you are in your 20’s and your not as far along as others.  Yes, you need to be patient and move slowly at times to help those older than you adjust to your pace.  Yes, you don’t have the experience that others have.  BUT, you have passion, ideas, creativity, heart, and energy that your environment needs.  Be BOLD!
  • Ask questions and then take the time to listen for the answer. I wish that I had talked less and asked more questions.  If you have young kids, then ask questions of the guy with older kids.  If you aren’t married, ask questions of the married guy.  You get the point?  Ask and listen, ask and listen, ask and listen?

So here’s what I’d like to hear.  Anybody out there share my age and perspective?  What would you add?

And any mid 40, 50, and 60 year old’s out there that would like to teach this young whippersnapper a thing or two?  Have at it, I’m all ears!


Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Kenn Ruckey · June 9, 2011

    Be the first to see you made a mistake, and go to great lengths to make amends.

    • Jonathan · June 9, 2011

      There is no possible way to see the mistake before the offended person!  But it’s a wise thing to to go great length to make amends, there is no doubt whatsoever.

      Thanks for the comment Kenn!

  2. Beverlyacobb · June 15, 2011

    Spend time listening to your children! They can teach you a thing or two, also.

    Also, never assume that you know all the answers. The older I get and the more I understand, the more I know how much I don’t know!