Elder Tree of Knowledge

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Each time I meet with clients, I hear my grandma’s voice reminding me to listen more than I talk. When I sit back and quiet my tendency to chatter, my professors step forward and begin that hour’s lesson. Some days, the lessons flow easily from the mouths of individuals who believe in the power of their words. Other days, the lessons come around after a couple hours of discussing a client’s goals and laying out the best method for achieving the desired ends. This past year, I have been the object of some shouts, almost missed the whispers, and often offered a tissue and a shoulder for the sobs. And my grandma: she was right — more than the books I read or trusts I write, it’s the people I work with and next to that shape what I learn every day. This is my favorite part of this job; the reason I come in early and stay late: every day, my clients show me why it is important to recognize the humanity behind every smiling or grumpy or mourning face. It’s these people who show you who you are and why what you do in the world affects more than just yourself.

“We have been married for sixty-three years. And we’ve never fought! Well, maybe not never… rarely have we fought. Do you want to know our secret for a happy marriage? Well, I’ll tell you. Number one, we say ‘I love you’ to each other every day. Number two, we laugh at everything – serious or sad. You’ve got to laugh together. And number three, we like each other. We are best friends. We love and we like. You’ve got to have both. Now… would you like us to introduce you to our grandson?”


“I have been making decisions for myself since I was forty years old. No one makes them for me! So, I went to Thom’s seminars seven or eight times before I decided to come in and talk to him. Once I spoke to him, I knew he knew that I knew he knows what he’s doing. It took me three years to get through those doors, but I’m happy that I did.”

“I’ve lived a farmer’s life — I raised cattle with my daddy and granddaddy; rode the combine like most kids ride bikes; spent nights in the barn tending to sick animals; seen the price for beans rise and fall — and I’ve kept going all just to keep the farm running like my family has done for a hundred years. My kids have all moved away and I don’t know if they will want to come back to all of this once I’m gone. But I’ll be d****d if I’ll let a lien be placed on this land. I ain’t never owed nobody a dime and I sure won’t leave this life with a bill to my name. Thom said he could help me keep that from happening. I’ll accept that promise and hold him to it — even from the grave.”

At Thom L. Cooper Company, LPA, we are all people just like you who want to listen to your needs and help you through whatever problems you have or want to avoid. We strive to answer all of your questions, to keep lines of communication open with your family, and to find the very best personalized solutions for you. If you need help or just some guidance and want to learn more about what we do and how it can serve you, I invite you to attend one of Thom’s Free Seminars — with just a few clicks of your mouse, you can reserve your seat today! If you are unable to attend one of the seminars, but still want to receive additional information in the comfort of your own home, you may contact us toll free. There is a live person waiting on the other end of the telephone to explain what we do and how it will benefit you and your family.

Elder Tree of Knowledge: QuoteBooks, Sticky Notes, and Legal Pads

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I have always been passionate about being a student and despite having been in practice for awhile, I still hang on to a lot of my old habits from the days of law school. I still study every night after work; I still keep Ramen noodles on hand for evenings when cooking just isn’t in the cards (or for when the cupboards are bare); and I still make notes daily in the form of quotes made by my professors — except now, the professors are my clients and the lessons I’m being taught go home with me at night, instead of sticking to the surface of my day as a professional.

I made my first “QuoteBook” on my tenth birthday after I opened a gift from my grandmother: a glossy orange notebook with the following inscription

Always listen more than you talk, Little Girl. Life’s most important lessons come in the form of a whisper, a shout, a sob, or a whistle. These come from the people around you — the waiter at the restaurant, the person beside you on the sidewalk, the teacher at the head of the class, the little old lady at the end of the lunch line… Take what you hear. Write it down. Read the words. Learn your lessons. People are the best tree of knowledge in this life.


Love to you for always,


Throughout primary school, I filled my QuoteBooks with jokes I heard from friends or funny little snippets from television commercials and movies. I clipped out newspaper headlines and magazine articles and carried my QuoteBook with me whenever I left my bedroom. By the time I reached law school, my QuoteBook entries had morphed into my method and manner for taking notes in class. When a professor stated something and repeated it — I wrote it down as I heard it and returned to it before an exam for buzzwords to use in an essay response. Now that I’m meeting with clients every day and have a job that involves asking for and hearing people’s stories, my QuoteBook is comprised of sticky notes and legal pads of chicken-scratched memories of my clients’ experiences and personalities.