“I cannot teach anyone anything. I can only make them think.” Socrates
I am blessed to have others seek my knowledge and experience as a University Instructor. As an additional bonus, there is seldom a class I teach in which I do not also learn something new from my students. However, I am also often confronted with ample evidence that education by itself simply does not bestow upon anyone the mantle of wisdom.
Fortunately, I have learned from others that wisdom is often a chameleon hiding in plain sight.
- Wisdom does not announce itself. For example – while an educated individual provides facts and opinions, the wise can be found quietly sitting, listening, observing, and wondering.
- Wisdom is humble. It realizes each word or thought contains much to examine, consider, question, and explore.
- Wisdom acknowledges and embraces its own ignorance and knows many of its limitations. Wise people test and question the boundaries of their own beliefs. They realize long upheld “truths” could be unintentionally tainted by culture, pride, or insufficient facts.
- Wisdom has learned to acknowledge the small discomfort when something just does not feel right.
- Wisdom acknowledges that Life is the ultimate teacher and never ceases to do better and understand more.
Wisdom thinks comprehensively and pursues a self journey of knowledge, responsibility and exploration. Wise people have found the comfort within themselves to maintain a curiosity of all things,
In an attempt to promote wisdom, I tell my students:
Learning is measured in how it makes you think or act differently! In your work and discussions, I look for your ideas, applications, questioning, creating, integration of the concept, attaching something pertinent but different to the topic, asking how to use this to make things better, etc. Learning requires “wrestling ” with the topic and interacting with it in some manner. What else might this impact? Where are the challenges? What other disciplines does this involve? What are the long term consequences? Simply understanding something is not good enough. Make new information work for you! Show me how you expand it, apply it to a new situation, analyze it, and change your outlook and behavior as a result of new knowledge!
Education may be measured in college degrees, wisdom in contrast is a discipline of determined destination with acceptance you never fully arrive. Ahh, but the journey is endlessly interesting, insightful and as wondrous as the heavens above.
“The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson