“Don’t Go That Way”

As a child I enjoyed healthy curiosity of the world around me. I hate to admit it but I touched my fair share of hot eyes on the stove, burned various items to see how fast they would burn, froze different liquids to see how differently they would thaw and disassembled and reassembled our VCR and a few other things in our home. My mother drew the line at the piano. I couldn’t help myself. I wanted to know how things worked. Lol Thankfully nothing suffered at the hands of my curiosity. On second thought I forgot about that glow worm I couldn’t put back together.

As an adult, a measure of my childhood curiosity has survived. I find myself disassembling fewer things, burning nothing, and forgetting to take things out of the freezer…to eat…not for experiments. The curiosity now surfaces when I get behind the wheel of a car. Like my dad, driving brings me a measure of pleasure.

While I was taught to be safe and always be aware of my surroundings, several members of my family encouraged my exploration. Shortly after I received my driver’s license I found myself exploring parts of the city I’d only heard about on the news or spied in glossy magazines in bookstores. I’d never heard the words “don’t go that way” unless I’d overlooked a sign warning me of one way streets.

Sorry, officer!

A few months ago I was out of town for a conference. It was the first time I’d participated with this organization. The area was familiar, but the hotel I stayed in was not. There were several people I was scheduled to meet up with at the hotel who were familiar with the accommodations since they’d attended the event previously. As we emerged from the elevator onto our floor, one of them said “Don’t go that way.”, referring to a direction of the hallway of which they were unfamiliar. I graciously listened as we parted to retire to our separate rooms.

Did this person realize to whom they were speaking?

I was never a rebellious or strong willed child, but when it comes to streets and pathways I find it hard not to wander. My life has primarily been governed by sound judgement calls and common sense so don’t worry. I’m not like the proverbial cat killed by curiosity, but that hallway called my name. My dad always taught me to be aware of my surroundings and find multiple paths/streets/walkways to where I needed to go. His advice guided me when I relocated to a new city 5 years ago. I immediately began looking for alternate routes in the often congested city which primarily has one major highway in and out.

But this wasn’t a city. This was just a hallway…in a public building.

However, the interaction made me think about why we sometimes spend so much time warning others away from certain things in life that we ourselves have not experienced. Some say experience is the best teacher. I have my issues with that line of thinking. There are some occurrences where I am able to learn from the experience of others while other times call for me to experience things first hand.

I’m not saying that all warnings are not valid. What I want you to understand is you need to use discernment and wisdom who seem to love hanging around each other. Sometimes the warnings come from a place of fear. Sometimes the warnings come from a place of ignorance. Sometimes they come from experience, but you need a discerning mind to know the difference.

Oh that random hallway I was told to stay away from? It led to the laundry room and the gym. Nothing dangerous. Nothing glamorous. It only appeared as such in the minds of those who didn’t know.

What about you? What experiences have others warned you away from? Were there fears warranted? Are there paths you’re glad you didn’t explore?Or do you think they were overreacting? Why? Share in the comments below.


  1. “There are some occurrences where I am able to learn from the experience of others while other times call for me to experience things first hand.”
    I could not agree more! I think it was Andy Andrews who said, learn from the mistakes of others rather than making them yourself, it is much easier that way.
    Very good post, and I too like to explore and discover, especially if there is a “not this way” sign. I guess it is my rebel heart 🙂

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