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March 30, 2015

Smart or Wise?

Hal photo outside Feb2012“A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains.” (Dutch Proverb)

There are many lies that rule the world, but the lie of “knowledge” is among the most insidious of all. You know the one—that if we only knew better, we would do better. So, we emphasize knowledge. We seek after know-how. We worship scientific research that eliminates any and all uncertainty.
If only that automatically made us better decision-makers, or better people. But, of course, it doesn’t. We still don’t drink enough water, or get enough sleep, even though we “know” better. We still complain too much, and gossip too much, even though we “know” better.
Don’t get me wrong—I absolutely believe in the power of education. I just don’t believe in pursuing knowledge over wisdom. Think about it: would you rather your child be “smart” or would you rather your child be “wise”? What about yourself? Knowledge is just about knowing, but wisdom is about knowing, being, and doing. It’s about educating not just our brains, but our hearts and souls as well.
So, why do we keep pursuing intelligence instead? Because wisdom takes patience. Wisdom takes experience. It takes practice. Wisdom comes from making decisions, then living with and learning from the consequences. Unfortunately, traditional education emphasizes quick retention of facts, and we parents emphasize homework and obedience.
Is that wise?

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