107 – Wisdom

Click the video above for 2 minutes of background waves while reading.

I like walking on the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Wisdom conjures many thoughts. What is wisdom? What does it mean to be wise? How does one become wise or achieve wisdom? How does a person share wisdom? Does wisdom prevent us from seeing what we need to see? Even with questions, it’s hard to imagine wisdom gets in the way.

Regardless of the answers, there is no doubt that wisdom does not mean one has all the answers.

I think about how a baby transitions into a toddler. The time from squirming to rolling over to crawling to walking to running with accidents along the way. Isn’t wisdom similar? Doesn’t wisdom allow us to get our feet below us over time? Does wisdom prevent personal stumbles or is wisdom gained from stumbling?

I think about the transitions we go through in life – from the confined childhood to the pains of adolescence to the growth in adulthood to the resignation as we age. Think of all the wisdom gained during life. The mistakes that become experiences allow us to be smarter today than yesterday as we turn the pages of life.

Gaining wisdom requires an awareness of the here and now that allows us to experience life and gain wisdom. But each of us does it differently because life affects us differently. After all, we range from the hard-headed to the heavy-hearted.

Photo by Jean van der Meulen on Pexels.com

I think every person is a collection of stories. Some positive, others negative. A collection that we pass along through conversations at work, among friends, and within a family. A few people pass along their experiences through biographies. Others do so through a fictional book based on personal experiences or someone else’s life.

Experience is a history one shares with others – a history involving wisdom. However, humanity has a way of repeating the mistakes of others by proclaiming, “this is different.”

Experience allows us to deal with the unknown corner – to discover what’s around the corner or avoid it. Now that’s using wisdom!

I think about how life has a way of slapping down past experiences with hopes of shedding a new light – a new way. After 12 years of teaching, I discovered I had done a great job of doing it wrong. That internalization allowed me to step into a new frontier with confidence and gather new wisdom. At least I saw the light that the majority of my colleagues did not see – or chose to ignore.

I wonder: Are smart and wise the same or different? Being smart may involve a fast answer, but being wise involves thinking about thoroughness and options. There is wisdom in waiting – and at times, even hoping. However, one can be smart and wise.

Photo by Nitin Arya on Pexels.com

Wisdom – that process of thinking about our experiences, knowledge, understanding, and sensibility to make a choice.

Wisdom – the crisscrossing of interacting brain cells one uses for the betterment of both self and the many.

Wisdom is the intellect coming from reflections on knowledge and experience. Wisdom is a collaboration involving learning from our physical and mental experiences, and then using that new knowledge in the future.

Wisdom comes from moments of self-analysis – being true to ourselves by contemplating the depths of thought.

While much wisdom may comfort some, can wisdom get in the way? Can wisdom prevent us from seeing reality or the journey? Experience and wisdom can block a fresh view – so we need someone to look at the situation through a different lens for a decision that could move us to a different paradigm.

Isn’t it interesting how some seemingly fail to gain wisdom while others seem wise beyond their years?

I look at the sea and wonder how many stories it holds. Then again, wisdom tells me that I’m thinking metaphorically.

Picture copyright by Jane Lurie Photography

Wisdom and experience are components of knowledge – but I also see them as results of each other.

I wonder: What are the similarities and differences between wisdom and expertise?

Wisdom – something that comes from discernment while promenading the sand; after all, I like walking on the beach because it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

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123 thoughts on “107 – Wisdom”

      1. I did Frank and walking on wisdom with you is a pleasure and I love how you give the benefit of the doubt!
        I think it really depends on what people value in many ways. Have a beautiful walk today! ❤️

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  1. Wisdom is the intellect coming from reflections on knowledge and experience. Wisdom is a collaboration involving learning from our physical and mental experiences, and then using that new knowledge in the future. I agree. Wisdom is gained by living with all the ups rand downs we have. Most of us gains it, but not all. Simplified live lived wisdom gained

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One of the buildings at the University of Cincinnati has these words, set in stone, above the main entrance : “Wisdom is the Principle Thing, Therefore get Wisdom.” It sounded kind pretentious when I first read it, but I suppose if one is truly wise they will seek that which they are supposed to seek.
    I do not feel that age brings wisdom. I hear a lot of people who have lived a long time say some pretty stupid things (I include myself in that category). Like so many things we strive for wisdom comes with thought, guidance, and experience. It is a journey.
    Thanks for a thoughtful article Frank!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gary,
      Thanks for sharing your personal thoughts. The fact that saying on the building at UC still reasonates with you shows that it impacted you by sticking with – by you gaining wisodm. Job done. Meanwhile, all of us say stupid things from time to time – that’s part of being human. Then again, that doesn’t mean that person lacks wisdom. On the other hand, if the stupid things flow out of the mouth like a river, well – Houston, we have a problem. No wisdom is in the house. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. This is a good topic. Wisdom is valuable, essential and it can get in the way. Insouciance and living for the moment have their virtues. When I spent time in Indonesia I was surprised that so many locals were afraid of the sea. They acquired wisdom from their ancestors who had experienced or heard about tsunamis. I had a blast learning to surf and swimming. The information overload of our times is sometimes crippling. It is all about balance I suppose. Thanks for this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cristina,
      What a wonderful comment … and with ideas I wish I would have used. 🙂 Great example of life being a balance between wisdom gained and living in the moment. Brilliant …. make that wise! 🙂 Very interesting about Indonesia. How long did you stay there?

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      1. Hi Frank, I was in Indonesia for two and a half months. It was fabulous, I met lots of great people. When it came time to leave I had forgotten my phone number. I just remembered something about tsunamis….just before the big one in 2003 a young British schoolgirl girl had recently learned about them in school. She was on holiday in Thailand a week or so later and when she saw the ocean being sucked way out to see she knew what it was and warned everyone around her. How is that for wisdom?!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wonderful. Two and a half months is enough time to get a feel for the people and their culture. Seems you’ve given me more evidence in my belief that the majority of the world is good. We’ve heard about the region in the Pacific known as the Ring of Fire. Yet we forget that the region is also one of earthquakes that can lead to tsunamis. Their ability of reading the sea is not only important – but also definitely a sign of wisdom. Thanks again for sharing!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Good morning, Frank! First–that’s a photo of you, right? Adorable!
    Second, this post is a great follow-up to science because both involve learning from experiences and making deductions based on what we’ve learned. It may be metaphorical thinking to imagine the sea’s many stories, but it’s wisdom to learn from them!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Merril,
      Good point in linking the two topics. I thought about having a different topic today because of wisdom’s link to science – but I thought of it too late. Knowing you use many metaphors in your writing, your point about the stories of the sea is more meaningful. Thanks for that. …. and yes … that’s me. And you get the prize for being the first to make that connection!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think one component of wisdom is when we start to realize that any success we’ve had wasn’t just dumb luck. When we start to “put it all together.” You’ve brought us a great collection of thoughts on a very deep subject, Frank. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peggy,
      Great point. Interesting how sometimes we bypass wisdom – a choice that ended up being good or bad. Other times we use wisdom, and the choice ended up good or bad. Yep – sometimes we have to use wisdom, other times we can fly by the seat of our pants. But that method requires more luck. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes, I like your equating wisdom with discernment. It’s that ability to evaluate that makes the difference between knowing and understanding. I’ve enjoyed watching our baby granddaughter acquiring the beginnings of wisdom as she tries, fails, tries again, fails better … and so on.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love the baby picture – I am far from wise but I knew that was you (!). I sure learned the difference between being smart and being wise in my various employment situations during my many years of employment. Some of the smartest folks I worked with (as in “book learnin’ ” smart) were incredibly out of tune with reality or sensibility and were incapable of making a WISE decision. These were doctors, lawyers, government officials – people you kind of expect to be able to make WISE decisions. They often had multiple degrees and proudly displayed them for all to see but when asked for a decision it was like pulling teeth to get one – especially one that made sense. Now that wasn’t EVERYBODY but it was a surprisingly high percentage of people!! I know I’ve learned a lot in my 70+ years and because I learned from my mistakes I can make reasonable decisions. Life is too short to be pulled out to sea by the tide of bad decision-making. I’m not sure I’m wise as much as I am LUCKY.

    Pam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam,
      Oh my … denying that luck doesn’t play into the equation of life isn’t a wise thing to do, it happens – then again, it also happens because of a wise domino that we played somewhere in the line of events. Then again, learning from the lucky event delivers wisdom.

      I know what you mean about unwise decisions and the difference between wisdom and book smart. I relate to your examples with thoughts of how did that person rise to that level? Whew …. then again, there is also the difference of agreeing and disagreeing. Thanks for sharing – and glad your wisdom led you to the fact that is me in the opening image. 🙂 By the way, I still have those shoes.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The first step towards wisdom is accepting that you do not know. “I think every person is a collection of stories.” And is through those stories that we gain intelligence and through the intelligence, wisdom. It isn’t always a straight line.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A beautiful post and wonderful speculation about wisdom. I think part of wisdom is recognizing that our human experience is limited, and we, as individuals and a species, know very little about the vastness and complexity of existence. So curiosity and un-knowing is part of being wise. I also think wisdom is something gained through experience and often as a result of struggling or suffering. Therefore compassion enters the realm of wisdom. Oh, this was fun to think about. Thanks for the questioning post… that curiosity is very wise. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Diana,
      Thank you for your delightful comment. Love the way you worked in curiosity and the unknown. Fits well will be previous walk about science. Experience and compassion are part of wisdom because they are very much part of the human experience. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. My Mum had a quote about wisdom that I found myself reading the other day, Frank…
    Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Phew, that was quite a realization you came to as a teacher. But I’m sure you must have charted a different course. Adorable baby picture. You, I’m assuming. Here’s something for you from Benjamin Franklin: “Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laurie,
      Thanks for the Franklin quote – perfect! That day was monumental for me as a teacher. I recall it was in Louisville, KY at a National Science Teacher Association regional conference. I regret not writing down the date, time, and session I was in at the time. I really don’t think many other teachers processed the info like I did – especially experienced teachers. I can also say that it led me to greater gratification of what I was doing. Yep – that’s a picture of me. Not sure of the age, other than a long time ago.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Words of wisdom coming from one of my wise friends! Love that toddler picture…somehow in my smart mode I think that might be you. Were we not all cute when we were so innocent we only had the wisdom to smile and to enjoy whatever came our way, with the childlike trust of a little one to his/her parents.
    Wow, how pleasant the world would be if we could still be that way in adulthood…(to a point…but not to be led astray …or to be like when we are in the terrible two stage), LOL!

    Some of the best times I have had were sharing my time with the elderly, in residential settings and just as I might meet them, such as in the stores or in church…or with my elderly relatives. They have all been there and done that, so they can give perspective on what is right now.

    Being one of the oldest employees where I work, even so I still have the wisdom to allow others to teach me about all kinds of things, and sometimes the younger ones come to me with their worldly troubles…oh oh, I for sure have had my share, but then I wisely have to let them know that mostly what they might hear from me are my opinions rather than wise words, LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ingrid,
      As long as one is willing to learn and reflect, wisdom will keep growing – and at no matter the age! I appreciate that you shared how you are around the elderly. “Been there done that” sure fits! Oh the stories they can tell while sharing their wisdom. Priceless! … By the way, yes – that’s me! Thanks for sharing your wonderful thoughts!

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  13. Wonderful read, Frank. I think there’s a big difference between knowledge (or being smart) and wisdom. There are people who can parrot all kinds of knowledge yet seem to lack even an ounce of wisdom (they sometimes lack common sense, too, and now I wonder if common sense is wisdom, or is it just discernment?). Well, you’ve got me thinking. Thank you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I think wisdom is quite different from being smart or being an expert. Many smart people aren’t very wise and there are people full of wisdom who might not be smart, at least in the way most people define it. To me wisdom means learning from your experiences, not just having them. Lots of good jumping off points for musing…and perhaps gaining a bit more wisdom…in your thoughts today.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ve been told I have Folk Wisdom.
    I always thought that it meant I had common sense.
    Great post, Frank! Love the Supremes song.
    So, now I ask you…how/why did “wisdom teeth” get their name?
    If anyone knows, you do.
    Yes, I’ve had a big glass of wine! Clink

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Resa,
      Glad you enjoyed the post and the song. As you know, I usually don’t do a pop song, but hey – gotta surprise the readers once in a while. In terms of wisdom teeth – that’s easy – They are named because they typically appear at an older age – much later than the other permanent teeth. I have a big glass of wine too … clink! … “Folk wisdom” is not a term I know – but I’m with you guessing common sense. Clink!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Wonderful topic of Wisdom Frank 🙂 I loved how you began with the picture of the baby – pure wisdom truly how growth happens gradually. Wisdom operates innately, slowly and patiently. A great description of all different ways wisdom is evident.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. PD,
      Thanks for the kind words. I haven’t thought about wisdom being innate – but I think you have something with that thought. Temperament and thought patterns are a combination of innate and learned. We know general disposition is also innate – so embedded in those traits is the foundation for wisdom. What do you think?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheryl,
      Thank you. I noemally don’t feature pop songs, but every once in a while it’s good to step outside the box. Glad you enjoyed the throwback in time with The Supremes. Thanks for sharing a delightful thought about wisdom. A good one that also caused a chuckle.

      Like

  17. Isn’t it interesting how some seemingly fail to gain wisdom while others seem wise beyond their years?

    Amen, brother. But how do you let the clueless know they’ve missed the point of things? Well, do that AND remain on friendly terms.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Another lovely walk along your beach, Frank — thanks for letting me tag along. One could spend ages thinking — and talking — about wisdom. Such a broad, interesting subject. I think the truly wise never stop learning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Endless,
      Welcome first-time commenter to my personal beach. Thought provoking is one of my goals with each walk, so glad I hit the mark on this one. Thanks for the Emerson quote, which I’ve filed because it may reappear. IN what part of the world are you? I’m Cincinnati Ohio USA.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Then thank you for taking us (me) along the thought-provoking journey. Several of the points your raised resonated with me: being a collection of our “stories” or experiences, the difference between being wise and being smart. And, yes, I like quotes, a lot, and continue to enjoy collecting more new ones 🙂 May I ask what made you feel that you were teaching in a less optimal way? (I have a huge respect for teaching and teachers). And to answer your question, we’re reflecting on these topics from California.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Good question about my teaching moment. No matter what they do, most teachers think they do well – and during that initial time period, I also saw myself that way. I attended conferences and took in information. I also had a supervisor at the time who made me think. For whatever reason, the light bulf went off while at a conference in Louisville, KY. That moment led to retooling myself and doing a 180 degree change in my teaching the following year. That is when I truly became a teacher directing student learning. There is no doubt in my mind that students learned more after my transformation.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I’m firmly in George Bernard Shaw when it comes to “To me the sole hope of human salvation lies in teaching.” Can you think of a better gift to the future than teaching others how to learn? I’m somewhat awed by your response, and hope to read more about your teaching (and learning 🙂 ) experiences.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Thank you. Personally, I think my story is not the norm – but that’s just my thought based on many experiences. I say a bit more to in my response to Tina, not far down from your comment.

              In terms of future beach walks, I think I have one prepared about Learning – and am in the initial draft stage on one about Teaching.

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  19. There is wisdom in waiting, oh yes, this is one lesson it took me forever to learn! I was always in a rush to do the next thing, impatient to reach the next milestone. Somehow I eventually learned to to live more often in the present moment and slow down…

    Liked by 1 person

  20. So true Frank – wisdom comes with experiences but only if you learn from them along the way. Your owl image reminded me of the old saying “A wise old owl sat on an oak, the more he saw the less he spoke, the less he spoke the more he heard. Why can’t we be like that old bird?” I found myself wondering what you discovered about right vs wrong while teaching????? Interesting thoughts as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tina,
      Thanks for sharing the wise owl saying. Good one! You asked about my teaching moment. Endless (not far up from here) also asked the question. I answered, but instead of rehashing, I answer in a different way. The first half of my career, I was a traditionalist …. lecture the info (I did this well) – do a lab/activity to verify the info – give a test. Very teacher based. After my moment, I became an activity-based teacher. Students primarily learned by doing, not from me telling. My role was designing an effective lesson. And that involved teaching students how to be learners, not just sponges taking in information then giving it back.

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  21. I feel the wisdom coming forth in your words so often, Frank. There is a measured openness in what you share. A willingness to speak what needs to spoken, to admit when you’ve been wrong, to listen to others. That’s a hallmark of wisdom to me.

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  22. HI Frank, A poignant and thoughtful post. And I’m glad that my black and white image of the sunset fit so well with your narrative. Hope all is well with you and that you’re having a good start to the year. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jane,
      Oh crap …. that one is yours? I’m sorry for not crediting you – but that I have corrected that! I must have been looking through the my library here on WP, then thought Perfect … and didn’t consider it wasn’t mine. Thanks for the lesson learned. Meanwhile, thanks for the kind words and thoughts. All is well here and hope the same for you and your family!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. As Socrates once opined, the only true wisdom is knowing that you know nothing. But IF you know something, make sure it has to do with wine bottle reserves in case of emergency and the perfect scrambled eggs.

    Hey, did I mention Go Bengals?!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The perfect scrambled eggs are light and fluffy and NOT well done. It takes some time but its totally worth it.

        Mmmm. Mac and Cheese AND bacon? That is last meal sufficient as far as I’m concerned.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Now I remember you telling me about your lightbulb moment. Isn’t it wonderful when that teaching/learning realization happens? It’s life altering, and makes being a teacher the best job in the world.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I know exactly what you mean! Even at the preschool level I see teachers who are like ‘the old Frank’. You know what I think? It takes bravery to trust what you know is right and jump off that cliff. I want to be the one at the bottom of the cliff, who has already jumped, yelling and cheering for teachers to figure it out and join in.

            Liked by 1 person

              1. Thank you, Frank. That’s a big disappointment to hear traditionalism is alive and well. It’s never too late to change, but I guess it’s easier to keep doing the same old thing.

                I should write about my ‘lightbulb’ moment. It was small, yet enormous. I feel a blog post coming on. 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

  24. We can contemplate many things, but I think it’s really integral to our maturity to think about what constitutes wisdom, and do we have it! You touched upon the nature of wisdom really beautifully, Frank. I think it took me most of my life thus far to recognize that having innate common sense doesn’t naturally translate to wisdom. Wisdom needs careful cultivation, time to develop, and some patience, I think. And even then, we can be fooled.

    Liked by 1 person

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