If wisdom were a person, place or thing, I would have found it long ago.
But according to Mr. Webster’s definition, wisdom is “knowledge gained over years of experience; the natural ability to understand things other people can’t, and knowledge of what is proper or reasonable; good sense or judgment.”
As far as number of years, I’ve got that. I’ve been told I’m an empath or have the ability to be empathetic. Sometimes I think sucker would be more appropriate.
On the matter of good sense or reasonable judgment over the years, some of my decisions could reasonably contradict that definition. But maybe that’s what is meant by knowledge gained over years of experience.
We are far too hard on ourselves when it comes to this business of wisdom. Just because we have years of experience in life doesn’t necessarily mean we gained wisdom. In fact, I’ve met a few people that should have been made to start over again. Put me at the top of the list.
It’s taken me a long time and three children to understand why my Dad was upset with me for sneaking out of the house about midnight for six Saturday nights in a row and coming back in through the kitchen window about three hours later. But I was “in love” and a whole lot foolish at the time. My Dad had the wisdom to not yell at me but to tell me quietly in the early morning as I was having my driving lesson that I was keeping him up while he waited on me to get back in. I never went out again. He had gained wisdom it would take me a while to get. But hey, I was sixteen and foolish.
Later I attended a baby shower for a distant cousin. A little booklet was being passed around that we “adults” with children were to write down some bit of wisdom for the first time Mom-to-be. My favorite aunt and the future great grandmother of this little one had already written in the book. I peeked back to see what she had written. Her perfect words were, “don’t panic,” and “wait and see.” As the mother of three children at the time and needing all the helpful wisdom I could find, I wrote, do what Aunt Auggie suggests. I’m going to. And I did.
My sons weren’t as challenging as my daughter turned out to be but they did have their moments. Like the time Jason came in to ask me what I thought about him and Janet getting married when he was eighteen.
I smiled as my insides curled into a thousand knots and replied, “Jason that will be just fine. But there are two conditions.” Then I told him he had to have a job making enough money to support them and a place for them to live because they would not be able to live with us. By the time they both turned eighteen, that question had long been taken care of by a string of new girlfriends and other concerns for me. Maybe some of that wisdom my Dad had shown was growing on me along with the help of Aunt Auggie’s advice to the Mom-to-be.
When Jody was sixteen and managed to take the bark off about three trees on a wet road, he called and asked for me first because he sensed I would be the calm one, at least on the outside, instead of his Dad. The truck was totaled but most important, he was OK.
When Julie started her teen years, the advice was especially handy. I never actually said no, just let’s wait and see. The part about don’t panic she never saw because I managed to keep it well hidden. Wisdom once again showed up.
At this stage of my life, learning not to give advice unless asked for or, really begged for, is another sign I’m growing in wisdom and understanding. Even when people ask for advice, they usually don’t really want to hear it. Maybe I’m finally growing in understanding and wisdom that comes with years of experience and learning.
And so it is.
– Barbara Tubbs Hill / firstname.lastname@example.org / (256) 710-9713
Writer, counselor, perennial student and seeker of truth and spirit is an apt description for Barbara. Currently, Barbara is working on her first novel with two more planned for the future. Her first book, “Let’s Talk, What You Don’t Know About Credit Can Hurt You,” was written after fifteen years in a career than spanned collections, credit and mortgage lending. Barbara is glad to have been a part of getting the Indian Mound in Florence listed on the Alabama State Historical Register and soon the National Historical Registry. She lives in Florence AL with her husband Johnnie and two precious rescue dogs; Snookies and Daisy.