“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”
- Proverbs 13:20
Didn’t our parents warn us over and over about running around with the wrong crowd? Sometimes it just happens, though, we let our guard down for whatever reason and make a bad choice of companions. Other times we may end up in a bad crowd through no fault of our own. Either way can be trouble if we are not careful. When I was in college I had a part time job working for an employer who hired a lot of college students like myself. Most were good kids who got along well. But once there was this new guy who came on board, and as always I tried to become buddies with him, until one day I made the mistake of getting in the car with him to go to lunch. That’s when something didn’t feel right. Next thing I knew we were in some loud joint ordering burgers and beer and shooting pool. We returned to work late and with beer on our breath, for which both of us could have – and should have – been fired. But, thankfully, for whatever reason our boss looked the other way. I knew then and there that hanging out with that guy was not a good idea. Sooner or later bad things were going to happen.
“When you hang out with good people good things gonna happen, and when you hang out with bad people bad things gonna happen.” Such were the wise words of Robert Cook, one of the greatest “street” philosophers I ever met. And Robert knows. He earned his philosophy degree from the school of life experience; for it was hanging out with bad people that once led him to a life of drug addiction, homelessness, and crime that resulted in spending time in prison. But then he met some good people and started hanging out with them, and that’s what turned his life around leading him into recovery and re-entry into a stable and productive life where he spends much of his spare time today volunteering in his church and reaching out to others who are bumping along rock bottom as he once did.
The Biblical proverb teaches us that “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” But only a great street philosopher like Robert Cook can bring it down to earth where the rubber meets the road: “When you hang out with good people good things gonna happen, and when you hang out with bad people bad things gonna happen.”