Education - Learning
By: - at June 20, 2013

15 Incredible Yet Weird Story Lessons About Wisdom

Aesop's Fables, life lessons, and other tales of wisdom have captured the minds of people throughout centuries. These stories show that humans are never too old, or too smart, to learn something new if they are just willing to open their eyes and hearts to what life is showing them. Some of the stories may seem to be too incredible to be true, but that's why they are so amazing. Life has lessons waiting in the most unexpected of places.

Road to success desert

1)  Wisdom Lessons of Love is a website that is dedicated to people sharing their real life stories of what life has taught them. One story on the site was sent in by a woman who described how her father showed the family what real love was. The woman's younger brother scribbled in their father's brand new hymnbook with a pen and was caught by their father. The woman was sure the father would dole out some harsh punishment, as was the brother since he cowered when the father entered the room. Her father, a clergyman, valued books and held them in high regard. Instead of punishment, though, the father taught a lesson. He sat down next to the boy and took the hymnbook, the pen, and wrote in the book himself next to the marks the boy had made. His words said "John's work, 1959, age 2. How many times have I looked into your beautiful face and into your warm, alert eyes looking up at me and thanked God for the one who has now scribbled in my new hymnal. You have made the book sacred, as have your brothers and sister to so much of my life."

The writer said that over the years she and her family experienced what all families do: triumph, tragedy, success, and heartbreak, and through it all her father's lesson of understanding, love, and patience was always remembered. He taught them that love beats anger, and that people are more important than objects.

family love beach ocean

While this may seem like an incredible act of self-control, Aesop's fables show that even animals are capable of love. He once wrote a little story about a lion that fell in love with a beautiful maiden and asked her parents for the maiden's hand in marriage. The parents were shocked, of course, and worried the lion would hurt their daughter. They asked the lion to remove his teeth and claws, which he did out of love, because the moral of the story is that love can tame even the wildest of beasts. That is obviously a stretch, but recent and documented stories show wild animals having compassion for humans. For instance, Binti the gorilla is a zoo animal that recently made headlines when a young child fell in the gorilla cage. Binti, a mother herself, grabbed the child and cradled it in her arms, even fending off other gorillas, until zookeepers could arrive to help.

2)  Wisdom Lessons on Kindness
On the same website,, someone submitted the story of Edie, a Korean orphan who was adopted by an American family. Edie was very small for her age, and was bullied in school by three girls who threatened to beat up Edie. The girls were given a warning by the principal and Edie learned a lesson from her own mother. The night Edie was bullied her mother told her the girls were known to be troublemakers and had anger issues. She told Edie something bad must have happened to them to cause such problems and asked Edie if she could be kind to the girls and befriend them, even though they wanted to harm her. Edie said she's try, and the very next day at school Edie began trying to be their friend. It took weeks, but Edie kept trying. Finally the girls agreed to be friends with Edie, and she asked the teacher if she could sit next to them in class. It was then Edie realized the girls were having trouble learning their lessons, and that's why they were disruptive in school. Edie tutored them and the girls became productive members of class by the end of the school year, showing what kindness can do.

kids helping each other

While this may seem like a strange move, it's really not. Thanks to increased numbers of bullying reports and suicides, Random Acts of Kindness (a website and social movement) was born to help people less fortunate or that may need a smile. The concept is that you do something nice for a complete stranger, just because you can. Stories from all over the world have flooded in about people buying coffee for the less fortunate, buying groceries for the people in line behind them at the store, or even paying off huge debts at hospitals and other businesses. This movement has become so popular that generations of people are participating to make the lives of others better every day with a little extra kindness.

3)  Everyday Life Lessons is a site dedicated to people sharing their life lessons with others. Some of the things listed there are quotes like "Injuries can be forgiven, but you'll never forget the pain." One of Aesop's fables deals with this exact lesson. In his story a boy accidentally steps on the tail of a snake and the snake bit the boy. The boy died and his father got an ax and cut off part of the snake's tail. The snake exacted revenge by killing the farmer's cattle. The farmer made peace with the snake, both agreeing not to forget what they lost (the son or the tail), but also not to harm one another further. The website is much like the life lesson's website and allows people to post lessons they've learned in life. One person said "Money can’t make me happy, but self-sufficiency gives me the freedom to share myself creatively, without worrying about how I’m going to pay the bills." Another of Aesop's fables, "The Miser and His Gold," talks about this lesson. A miser buries his gold and lives frugally. A man watches where the miser buries it and takes it. The miser confronts the man and demands his money back, but the man refuses and asks the miser what he'd do with it. The miser says he wants to look at his gold daily. The man then tells the miser he can just look at the empty hole in the ground, because if he won't spend the money it has the same amount of value as the hole.

girl in nature appreciating life

4)  Wisdom Lessons From Birds
Birds have taught us many, many lessons. They show us that if we try hard enough, we can reach our goals, for one. A bird is born not knowing how to fly, but they must fly in order to survive. Flight can be a scary thing for an animal that has never tried, or so it would seem, but birds don't hesitate. They know when they're ready and jump out of their nests to soar. On the site an ancient folktale was posted about an eagle who thought it was a chicken. When the eagle was still in an egg, the egg was accidentally rolled into a chicken house. The egg hatched there and the eagle was raised as a funny-looking chicken, but deep down he knew he was not like the other chickens and had the urge to soar with other eagles. His fellow chickens made fun of him, but one day the eagle tried it and proved he could fly like an eagle.

eagle soaring above mountains

While this may seem like a fable, there are actual versions of this that do take place in the animal kingdom. Many times nature has shown us unlikely animals that beat the odds. For instance, a movie was recently released about a real life dolphin that lost its fin. It still wanted to swim, though, and a child came up with the idea to give the dolphin a prosthetic. Veterinarians were able to do so and the dolphin swam like she used to. Other people throughout history have also learned from birds. Henry Van Dyke once said "Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." William Blake wrote "No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings."

5)  Wisdom Lessons From Dogs
An author on, has written a lively piece on lessons her dog has taught her in life. Many of them are sweet stories of the dog's mischievousness and how it has taught her something, but then there was this little gem. The author tells a story of how she walked into her living room to find her dog curled up on the couch with her cat, whom he'd just been wrestling with. The owner of the animals was sure the two hated one another by the way they went at it, but here they were sleeping soundly, foreheads touching. She noted that dogs and cats are supposed to be lifelong enemies, but her two were more like "frenemies" and had found a way to work out their differences and get along when it suited them. This taught the author that your friends can be your enemies, and vice versa. Finding the common ground is what matters and it is possible to keep the peace. An article on Huffington Post says that dogs can teach us many life lessons, including that naps are good, people should not waste food, people should do things they enjoy more often, and that people should not keep quiet if their instincts are telling them something is wrong.

puppy and kitten playing friends

6)  Wisdom Lessons From Cats
If dogs can teach lessons, surely cats can as well. The Internet is full of cat pictures and videos to make people laugh, but cats can do more. They can also teach lessons. Just ask the author over at who says she has learned very important lessons from her cat, like how cuddling is a nice way to wake up, drinking tap water won’t kill you, people should sit in the sun more often, if you must hiss at someone, mean it, and have a place in your home for quiet, alone time. The author says her cat has also taught her to appreciate the package a gift comes in and not just the gift, sometimes your presence is all another person needs, and that it's ok to like some people and not others.

On the Yoga Site: Yoga Walls and Wonderment, the author has many blogs about lessons her cats have taught her. One such story is about how she learned to let go of the leash for her cat (gave him more freedom) and learned to trust him, and in turn trust herself. The author says this taught her how to let go of the emotional leash she had to painful baggage in her past, which in turn made her a happier person.

kittens napping and snuggling

7)  Wisdom Lessons From Kids
Any parent will tell you that teaching kids is not half as much fun as learning from them, and kids do teach some amazing lessons. There are whole websites dedicated to the art of being a parent and each one will have some story or another on how children taught their parents a lesson. On the site, the parents talk about what their kids taught them. One lesson was that you should live spontaneously. Kids don't generally plan things. They take life in stride and figure it out as they go along and adults should try this more often. It's a true sense of freedom that also teaches one what they are capable of. Another lesson these two learned is that being under qualified doesn't mean you can't do the task. Kids test the waters. They don't care if they've never done something before, because they are always willing to try to do something new. More adults should learn to live life so boldly.

An article on Huffington Post said that kids can teach lessons that aren't just about mental well-being. The site said kids can also teach how to handle physical ailments (napping, drinking water, eating good food, and getting lots of play time), mental woes (color, watch a movie, snuggle, and cry), and how to be happier in general (laugh, play, run, and throw caution to the wind).

boy playing using imagination

8)  Wisdom Lessons From the Elderly
The elderly have always taught younger generations something. There's always a life lesson or quote they're willing to give out. It's no wonder there are sayings like "you are wise beyond your years" and "gray with wisdom." Recently, the New York Times posted an article on a fantastic book written by Karl Pillemar that asks older people what wisdom they would share with younger people. The book, entitled "30 Lessons for Living" shares thoughts on love, marriage, careers, and children, among other things. In the book, one 89-year-old woman talks about how she stayed in her marriage even when her husband was affected by his military service. She says young people give up on love too easily these days. Others advised that marriage is about friendship, communication, compromise, and commitment.

elderly couple happy loving hugging

On the topic of careers, an 83-year-old former athlete said, “The most important thing is to be involved in a profession that you absolutely love, and that you look forward to going to work to every day.” On aging, one person said, “Each decade, each age, has opportunities that weren’t actually there in the previous time.” And on parenting many people chimed in, but the most important lesson any of the elderly had to offer on this subject was to spend time with children, even if it means sacrificing what you want to do for them.

9)  Wisdom Lessons On and From Family has many ways to learn from and teach families. One thing the author, Sabrina Beasley, says to do is to teach at Thanksgiving and Christmas time, as it's already a season of giving and people are in the mood to open their hearts and minds. Beasley says to get rid of luxuries for one week, like television, dessert, or other treats. She said this shows people what they have and how they shouldn't take it for granted. Author Susan Orlins posted an article to Huffington Post that discussed the lessons she's learned from her family. Some of those included giving without expecting to receive and that the best gifts in life mostly come free. That's why family life says that donating personal items can help those in need and give the giver a gift, as well. It also teaches children that material objects are not the most important thing in life. While all of this seems cliché, it's really not as odd and over-inflated as it sounds. Living simply and giving to others is actually a way to decrease stress and rid yourself of depression. So, in essence, giving to others and living a simple life is a gift of life for you.

Volunteer taking clothing donations

10)  Wisdom Lessons From Friends
Orlins also says she has learned lessons from friends. She says she "learned that you can scribble your entire will on a single sheet of yellow paper," "that the beauty of something hand-crafted is in its imperfections," "that all the cliches about impossible dreams coming true, are true," and that sharing your desserts is good for both parties. Now if those seem like no-brainers, another author from Huffington Post will show you that these lessons come at a time you least expect them, like an all you can eat lunch. Laura Jane Williams learned several things at one such lunch she attended, even if she knew some of them beforehand. They really stuck out to her at this lunch, though. One was a lesson in team work with friends. Williams says "you can't do it alone" and to prove her point she recalls taking too many pieces of fudge from the dessert table and instantly knew she had taken on too much. She panicked, then recruited help. She helped her lunch friend finish cake, and the lunch friend helped top off the fudge. Both women were happy and Williams learned that asking for help (even with food) is not a bad thing and it gets both parties much farther and a lot faster.

friends sharing dinner

11)  Odd Wisdom Lessons From Out Of The Blue recently listed an entire page of life lessons that are odd, but true. Among them were things like "when weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it; if it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant," and "the easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement," or "Get the last word in: Apologize," and finally "in the 60's, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal." While these may seem like a joke, they are surprisingly true. lists a few life lessons that aren't so weird, but definitely have been learned by living. On their website, the couple says things like "If you’re smiling right now, you’re doing something right," "No matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be. Either you succeed or you learn something. Win-Win," and "Complaining is like slapping yourself for slapping yourself. It doesn’t solve the problem, it just hurts you more." These and other odd stories of life lessons from out of nowhere inspire people. For instance, a recent story about three kidnapped girls found in a home in Ohio after a decade of being missing inspired people to not judge a book by its cover. The girls' rescuers were an immigrant that didn't speak English and a black man that wasn't wealthy or educated.

family help for life problems

12)  Wisdom Lessons From Strangers
There is a whole blog dedicated to this very subject in which the author chronicles her adventures in life by learning lessons from complete strangers. In one post she talks about holding the hands of strangers as she prays in Sunday service. The author says she's held a lot of hands over the years, at funerals, church, and fundraising events. She said there's a magic when holding another's hand, and she sees it when she holds the hand of someone she doesn't know. The author says the lesson she derives from this is that humans need interaction with other humans and a simple touch can make someone perk up. It can also be a gateway into meeting new people and that strangers don't have to be strangers for long. In fact, in many classroom stranger safety lessons taught to children, the lessons revolve around finding the good guys in the crowd when you need help and knowing how to properly interact with strangers. These lessons teach us that just because we don't know someone doesn't mean they are bad people or they won't help us should we need help.

holding hands

13)  Wisdom Lessons on Patience
If you want to learn patience, become a parent, go to the post office at Christmas time, and drive through rush hour traffic. If you're really brave you can combine all three for the mega test of your patience.  There is something behind learning patience in everyday life lessons and situations, though. The popular science site says that some stress isn't bad, and the more people get accustomed to low doses of stress the more people can handle stress, work through it, and even manage depression. Patience is critical in keeping the peace at work, home, and in public and each day little things (like being stuck in line at the post office with a slow worker aggravating you while your child does the pee-pee dance next to you) can actually be beneficial to your health.

traffic jam test of patience

14)  Wisdom Lessons From Frogs
You may not think a frog can teach you a lesson, but Aesop did, Disney does, and scientists do as well. Disney's "The Princess and the Frog" teaches not to judge a book by its cover, and Aesop has many tales about how frogs can be wise. Scientists may take the win on this category, though, as they have evidence to back up why they are right. According to scientists around the world, if a frog dies because of ecological issues, it's a sign humans are polluting the Earth. Additionally, frogs can teach people about teamwork, especially in parenting. Most frogs divide up the role of parenting, which gives them each free time to get a bite to eat, swim in the pond, and live a little.

father frog carrying babies tadpoles

15)  Wisdom Lessons From Nature
Aesop used nature as a common theme, and it's easy to see why. Nature is strange, unpredictable, and wise. It teaches people one of the most important lessons in life: no matter how strong you think you are, there is always a force stronger. In 2005, coverage of hurricane Katrina had just started in June. The storm wasn't going to hit land. The path quickly changed and the devastation that followed taught people about helping others, kindness, and being ready for anything life can throw at you. Recently, a tornado in Moore, Oklahoma showed thousands of people giving selflessly to help those affected. Another lesson learned was to not give up hope and when you think all is lost, it might not be. An elderly lady was being interviewed for a local TV station when her dog, that she thought was lost, was found under the rubble of her home still alive. The video made national headlines and became an instant tear jerker.

Navy search and Rescue after Hurricane Katrina

Final Thoughts
Cats, dogs, birds, frogs, nature, kids, and the elderly all have a way of teaching life lessons. These little bits of wisdom add to the lives of people and make them stronger, better, and smarter. They help shape people who can come at any time, from anywhere, as long as people are willing to listen to them. Some may seem odd, but they are unique and true to each individual who experiences them.





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