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Wisdom is Better Learned from Other People's Experiences

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It is in the heart of every parent and most mature adults to impart wisdom to their children, their young relatives, or at least a young person. Unfortunately, many young people fail to understand the beneficial concept of learning from other peoples’ positive and negative experiences. This is especially disheartening when a parent is listening to the hair-brained ideas of an adult child and is aware that the hardheaded child doesn’t take sound advice well. Recently, I was disturbed by a discussion with my oldest daughter who is 39-years-old, single, and (thank goodness) childless. She is often unemployed or underemployed and frustrated with the struggles of her life, which is compounded by her singleness and the loud ticking reminder of her biological clock. During our conservation, as a means of easing her level of disappointment, I suggested that she seek the fellowship of a good church for support and spiritual growth. She replied that perhaps she would join a church because she might meet a man and future husband there. I held back my tongue because I knew her unspoken words were that she wanted a man to help her pay her bills, if he’s employed, and impregnate her, if he’s cute, then, maybe marriage if he’s willing. Many women fall prey to male predators at church because of their own ulterior ungodly reasons.

Church is often misused as a place where singles meet, married people cheat, and con-artist look for victims to rip-off. I wanted to scream that it was a bad idea to go to church looking for a mate. Of course, you might meet the love of your life there but to go looking for a mate is like putting on the deodorant before the shower or putting on your shoes before your socks. Yet, I held my peace because my daughter is stubborn and thinks her ideas, which seldom pans out, have merit. It is frustrating to have years of acquired experiences but can’t successfully pass them on.

Having wisdom doesn’t mean you have made all wise decisions…in fact, it could mean the exact opposite. Wisdom often comes from painful and bad experiences. In fact, some of the greatest wisdom I have gained has come from some very foolish decisions I made in life. Many times you could have easily called me a fool as many did. Hopefully I’ve learned from those times and can now share my experiences with others.

Certainly I hope young people would listen more to caring seniors, especially wiser and older relatives, and learn wisdom from their experiences. The Bible is full of this concept. Take for example Solomon, supposedly the wisest man of all times. Those that know his story know he also made many mistakes. Read 1 Kings 11:1-4 as an example. Then read Ecclesiastes 10:1-3, 8-10 It’s almost like Solomon was saying, “I’ve learned a few things…take it from me…” Solomon was full of wisdom, given to him by God, but much of that wisdom towards the end of his life, apparently came through the experience of bad decisions.

Whether my independent-minded daughter joins a church for the wrong reason or not is totally beyond my control; nevertheless, I won’t go down without a fight. I will see her again on Christmas Day and have a talk with her about choices. However, I feel it is a tragic waste of experience for young people not to reap the benefits of the senior wisdom within their grasp. It would cut down on a lot of grief in the long run.

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