How Are Men Supposed To Hold Their 3 Year Old Stoop, Young Man

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Stoop, Young Man

He mocks proud scoffers but gives grace to the humble. Proverbs 3:34

Benjamin Franklin visited the old Puritan preacher, Cotton Mather, in Boston. Cotton liked the young printer even though he could be quite critical of established religion. Both men liked books, so it was natural for them to visit Mather’s extensive library, a collection of about 3,000 books. That would be a great library today; it was pretty amazing for 1724.

Cotton Mather was the target of several barbs in the newspaper Franklin worked for, the Courant. Cotton showed his high level of character by informing Benjamin that he held no animosity or resentment for the pointed remarks.

As they left the library, Mather said to Franklin, “Knee down! Bend over!”

Franklin wasn’t sure what Mather meant, so he kept walking. But when he hit his head on a low beam, he knew.

The preacher in Mather could not let the teachable moment pass, so he said to Ben Franklin: “Let this be a caution to you not to always hold your head so high. Bow down young man, bow down – as you go through this world – and you will miss many hard knocks.”

Mockers hold their heads high. They always seem to judge others in a negative light. Their humor and their comments have a slanderous tone to them. Mockers hold themselves above others
people, considering them not so sharp, insightful or witty.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell if the mocker is acting out of a sense of true superiority, or if he’s compensating for low self-esteem. The bully on the playground who pushes little kids isn’t tough; he’s more scared than most of the kids he pushes around. He just learned how to use his size to his advantage by scaring others. Stand up to the bully once and he will usually back off and leave you alone. The scoffer is just a bully with his mouth. He pushes and shoves verbally. Don’t join him at his game. The best way to derail the scoffer is to remain calm in his presence.

God usually has a way of humbling those who exalt themselves above others and treat them in a condescending and humiliating manner. God mocks proud scoffers but gives grace to the humble.

That is the lesson Cotton Mather was teaching Benjamin Franklin. “Stoop young man, stoop – as you go through this world – and you’ll miss a lot of hard knocks.” In other words, don’t live with the pride of a scoffer, be humble.

Years later Ben Franklin told Mather’s son, “This advice, thus beaten into my head, has often been useful to me, and I often think of it when I see pride killed and misfortunes brought upon men by carrying their heads too high. “

With all his accomplishments and achievements on both sides of the Atlantic, Franklin knew the importance of keeping it all in proper perspective. As another wise saying goes: “When comes pride, then comes dishonor, but with humility comes wisdom.”

Life is full of dark beams. Remember to bend over.

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