What a paper punch can teach you about life and learning

lessons-learned-from-a-paper-punchOh what a beautiful morning tis indeed, when at first we get up with a thirst for knowledge and ride out on a steed!
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I got up this morning and had to help my oldest daughter, Sharon, complete her school project. Which really meant getting it printed, punched and placed neatly in a manila folder for her to take to school as she had already done the hard yards with her mom over the weekend. This also meant leaving the house because I didn’t have a working printer.

To be totally honest, I didn’t really feel like going anywhere this morning but it was either take the older kids to school and get the project printed or breastfeed my youngest son – which I must say, as of right now is looking physically possible.

Unfortunately, due to the lack of milk producing glands my obvious input was the free use of my laptop and the responsibility of printing and binding the project.

So I converted the double zigzag borders her mom had so gladly used on every page to single straight lines, saved the PDF file on a flash drive and off we went to get it printed for Sharon to take to school.

We found a little Copy Shop down near Nabua [nam-booah] Town to do our printing. Upon arrival in this little five PC internet café slash printing slash ‘we do passport photos here’ shop, I gave the flash drive to the guy working there and asked him to print seven black and white pages and one in full color.

He went about his business and printed the project on two separate PCs and upon completion of the black and white prints I asked if they had a paper punch that I could use as we had brought the manila folder and clip with us.

Sure enough they had one (what copy shop doesn’t, right?) and the young lad, neatly dressed in sulu and shirt, promptly goes behind the counter, that two people couldn’t squeeze into, to get it. Here I was expecting a big, shiny paper punch with which to punch holes into this eight page project.

Much to my surprise, he brings out and hands me a punch that should have been in the museum. Seriously! I should have worn a gas mask just to handle this thing that barely fit in the palm of my hand. “I might cut myself” were the words that popped into mind. I wondered if it was actually up for the task of punching holes (or would I need to stand on it just to get it to cut through the paper).

Anyhow, since this was all they had, I had no choice but to use it. I divided the collated papers into two lots and marked off the center of the page in preparation for punching. Slowly but surely I slid the first lot of pages in between the paper punch and curiously pressed down.

To my amazement; this old, rusted, hazardous paper punch, cut like a hot knife through butter and my task was completed before I knew it. In fact, I found it quite sharp for its age and it did way better than some of the newer, sleek looking paper punches which I’ve used. OK, I could be exaggerating a little here but you get the picture.

With the project printed, punched and clipped neatly in the yellow manila folder, I parted ways with the children who were off to school while I eagerly made my way home to share this experience with you.

What’s the moral of this story? I know it’s a cliché and one you’ve probably heard more than you wish to count but here it is anyway: Don’t judge a book by its cover!

Don’t dismiss people too easily based on what you’ve heard or what you see before you. If you take the time out to get to know them for yourself instead of jumping to conclusions, they may just surprise you.

My wise wife (brownie points for me) has taught me to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Not to ignorantly listen and accept what so and so said about such and such a person. Because a personal opinion is just that – A personal opinion!

Don’t stop listening to somebody just because you don’t like them or can’t stand them. If you lay your personal differences aside (cause you’re a dear child of God that loves those who curse you) you may just learn the secret ingredient to “the secret ingredient noodle soup”, like Po did in Kung Fu Panda.  And what person in their right mind doesn’t want to learn the secret ingredient to mouth watering noodle soup. I mean…Seriously!

The writer of Hebrews wrote in the first two verses of the 13th chapter –

“Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”

So don’t sell yourself short on learning from the stranger that begs on the street just because he looks old, unkempt and withered. You may learn valuable lessons that will serve you well in life, if you but take the time out to listen.

What lessons about life and learning have you learned from the people you would least expect to learn them from?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

14 thoughts on “What a paper punch can teach you about life and learning”

  1. It sounds like you have a wise wife. I’m trying to learn to give people the benefit of the doubt as well. In the world we live in it is often hard to do, but it’s well worth it. A little grace goes a long way! I’m glad you opted to leave nursing the baby to your wife 🙂

  2. Wow

    I never thought i’d say this but this was a really great story.

    very true and great lesson learnt from it..

    Yup nice one Buka

    1. Thank you Joseph son of Jacob for stopping by!! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Yes indeed, even in it’s worn out state the old paper punch still fulfilled it’s purpose. The very reason for it’s creation.

  3. Just a thought ay..Never underestimate anyone and effectiveness is never judged by appearance it is known by performance. And those in the KINGDOM are effective regardless of their appearance because the source is HIM within us.Looks useless but very useful…bless you and your awesome family bro.my brain is blessed to have read this’ll.thanks again bro.

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