Ideas / Pursuing Wisdom / August 16, 2011

When Is a Person Old Enough to be Wise?

When is a person grown up enough to be wise? I’m 28, and I know some stuff. I’ve lived some life, made some (big) mistakes and learned a lot from them. I’ve read books and been taught by some awfully smart people. But I live life with the constant effort to absorb as much information and wisdom as I can so that I can one day be one of those wise, sage types at some arbitrary point years down the road. 
I see other people my age write books and preach sermons. Part of me thinks that’s really cool and wonderful and that it’s great they’re getting their start. But part of me thinks “you’re my age; you have no business doing that.”
As a father, I feel like I spend my days scrambling to figure out what is the best way to raise my daughters. I don’t feel like I should be dispensing parenting advice. As a husband I spend a lot of time trying to make up for my mistakes and do better than I did last time. I don’t feel like I have any business sharing “wisdom” on marriage.
As a writer I blog to explore ideas, get feedback, and maybe, hopefully say some stuff that is beneficial to somebody. I don’t come to this writing effort with a pile of wisdom that I feel the world needs. I come with questions, observations, and thoughts as well as the full expectation that in 5, 10, 20 years I’ll look back and cringe at some of the stuff I wrote. Just as I’ll cringe at my own fathering and husbanding blunders.
But does that mean I am too young to be wise? Or is wisdom something else, something that can be present even as I slog my way through the idiocy of youth?
I’m beginning to think that wisdom for a young person is to recognize a lack of wisdom, to be aware of the gaps in my abilities and knowledge, to avoid the bravado and over-confidence that leads to huge errors. I don’t think this precludes statements of opinion or pursuit of passions, but it should temper and steer them.
If I was certain that I was parenting the best possible way, husbanding the best possible way, and was already the picture of perfection as a writer I would be failing on all counts, without question. To be aware of my own incompleteness, I hope, is the path that will lead to even greater wisdom and success. To know with certainty that I have much to learn will build my appetite for knowledge and good counsel so that I grow in wisdom.
If what I write is wisdom, I trust it will be of benefit to you, the reader, especially those of you who are young. If it seems foolish, well, I’m young and still have a long way to go.



6 Comments

Aug 16, 2011

I am 35, father of 3, husband, and pastor a small church that is “off the radar”. This GREATLY encouraged me. Thank you


Aug 16, 2011

I’m really glad, Scott. Thanks for reading it and letting me know.


Aug 16, 2011

Well, coming from a borderline illiterate WIU, this might not mean much, but i thought this was pretty well written. At all ages, it seems no one really knows anything, it’s just the sum of all that we can hope to retain from very short lives. Couldn’t giving sermons or writing, understanding it could be dangerous, at a younger age allow them to hone their craft for a later date? I understand I’m still pretty dumb, things I thought I “got” two years ago I now realize I hadn’t a slightest clue. This process seems to keep happening, and I’d imagine (and hope)it will continue until I’m in the grave. Also, do you think that there can be a point where wisdom from experience can become stale? Where new fresh eyes can see something that tired old eyes cannot. I appreciate the post, it’s always nice to have something worthwhile to think about.


Aug 17, 2011

“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.” Proverbs 4:7. I’ve been thinking over this verse for several months and I think your blog hits exactly on what it’s talking about. The beginning of wisdom is realizing our lack of wisdom. Thanks for your thoughts!


Aug 17, 2011

If wisdom from experience becomes stale, Jordan, it probably has stopped being wisdom and simply become experience. Wisdom should remain fresh because it’s always timely and pertinent.

And the process your referring to seems to only increase with time. I noticed it in college, but notice it even more now, the whole “I know alot less than I used to think I knew” phenomenon.


Aug 17, 2011

Touche, good point. I can’t wait to feel extra dumb in a few years.



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