Wisdom vs. foolishness

Seeing and responding to life situations from a perspective that transcends my current circumstances.

Building wisdom is more than book learning and requires more than education. It combines an understanding of truth with the good judgment to apply it in life. Wisdom results when a person finds and makes practical application of the knowledge he has acquired and the understanding he has discovered. It is the ability to see clearly: to have a clear understanding of one’s circumstances in order to be able to explain them and identify solutions to problems. Wisdom is knowledge and understanding that have been matured by experience.

For King Solomon, one of the wisest sages of the ancient world, wisdom was not an abstract intelligence accessible only to the highly educated. The lessons of wisdom are all around us in nature and society. The wise person is one who takes note of the wisdom taught in daily experience. One of Solomon’s best known examples of wisdom is the ant. He showed that wisdom can be gained by observing the ant. Solomon wrote, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” He showed that the ant teaches the value of diligence in good times in order to have resources available in lean times – a lesson spoken by the ant only to those with the wisdom to stop and listen.

Wisdom is not “out there somewhere.” It is right under your nose, right before your eyes, around you every day, following you, ahead of you, shouting in your ear trying to get your attention. To learn wisdom is to take notice of the lessons of everyday life. The “rat race” often leaves one too tired to think about a tiny ant, but there is so much to be gleaned from observation. Make time to take notice of what is happening all around you and to recognize life lessons.

One way to help your children develop the perspective of wisdom is by teaching them how to use analogies. For example: “cat is to mouse as bird is to worm.” This is the pattern King Solomon used for many of his insights. See if you can locate analogy puzzles at your library or on the Internet.

Brought to you by the Four Corners Character Council. Character First! Definitions and information used by permission. Copyright Character First Training Institute. www.characterfirst.com.

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