I’ve been pondering the difference between wisdom and knowledge lately. I was reflecting on recent recruiting visits to a couple of area high schools, and was noticing the difference between the juniors and the seniors. It seemed to me that in at least one of the schools, the juniors seemed to be more receptive and attentive. I noticed a similar difference years ago between 8th graders and the 5th-6th-7th graders in my valiant attempt (I lasted until Thanksgiving – that’s a whole other story) to teach middle school science.
It seemed to me that the students “at the top of the heap” – seniors in high school or 8th graders in middle school – had a bit of an attitude that said something like, “tell me something I don’t already know.”
Oh, how that reminds me of myself sometimes… I have certainly acquired more knowledge on my life journey. For example, today I learned a few things while figuring out how to fix my housemate’s computer and work out some problems with my wireless router.
However, I’ve come to define wisdom for myself as, “knowing what it is that I DON’T know.” Probably not quite as simple as that, but the gist is that I find that the older I get, the more I realize I don’t know, and you know what? I’m actually ok with that! It occurs to me that wisdom and humility are likely two sides of the same coin.
Rather than getting discouraged about the realization that I know less than I previously thought I did, I thank God that I am more open to surprises and more able to give the people in my life room to be who they are instead of telling them how they “ought” to be or act.
I’d be curious to know what you think about the relationship between knowledge and wisdom, or the relationship between wisdom and humility…