Have you ever noticed that it is easier to give advice sometimes than to take it when we need it? Funny isn’t it? Yet at some point in life we are all guilty of this same thing whether it’s because of pride or just because the advice, though sound, is not what we want to hear so we put it aside for a bit and stumble on trying to prove it wrong. I have on occasion caused myself to trip up in many ways by not heeding good advice when I should have.
My youngest daughter found a little notebook full of poems and thoughts I had written when I was about her age. I have to say, I sounded like I knew what I was talking about on some things, though I read it now and think, “Wow, if you only knew how true those words were!”
Was I wise? Well, wisdom is the ability to discern or judge what is true, right or lasting. Wisdom includes insight, common sense, good judgment and more importantly, being able and willing to act on those things. Not sure you can have a lot of real wisdom at age 14. I can only say that even at a young age I was a listener, a people watcher and quick to notice and understand things. Being shy helped too, I suppose, in some ways.
I think Benjamin Franklin was one of the wisest people from United States history. He was always spreading little tidbits of information, wisdom with a dose of humor thrown in. The man had a profound impact on history, people and the nation in every aspect! He is one of the people I love to learn and read about because he had such a unique and daring personality. There are many throughout history that have passed down wisdom and experiences for us to learn from.
As for me, I learned a lot about life, families and friendships from the grandma’s in the quilting bee at church. I loved to sit underneath that huge stretched quilt and watch them sew the fabric, piece things together and talk the whole afternoon about anything and everything going on in their lives. They wove stories together in the same way they pieced that quilt together. I loved listening to them work things out and give each other advice. The older women mentored the younger women. What’s more is they knew I was there and if they wanted to be sure I understood something, one or two of the ladies would peek underneath the quilt and ask me if I understood what was being said. If I didn’t then they would have me come up topside, sit in a chair and explain it to me. I learned so much from my group of adopted grandma’s.
Was I always wise in my actions? I am human and like most humans, many times, years later I will remember some tidbit someone told me, or a quote I heard along the way, right about the time I have committed to some stupid action that will take a fair amount of time to clean up. Then the lesson and wise advice from long ago will be ingrained in my memory, become a bigger and more prominent part of me (I hope) because I hate it when I don’t learn my lesson the first time and repeat the same choice which ultimately ends in the same results.
In all of this I have realized that wisdom really does come with age. Though we may know the right thing to do, it doesn’t mean we will always do the right thing. Failures are not permanent, and mistakes are not final. Wisdom is sometimes hard-won and when asked it is passed on to fellow travelers on this journey.
So, if you are asked for your advice, please be honest and be kind enough to share your experiences and wisdom along the way, don’t worry if your words aren’t accepted or approved of the way you think they should be, that’s not the point anyway. The person you share them with was put in your path because they needed to hear them, the choice is still theirs and they will either learn from your lesson, or be taught their own.
Cherry Coley ©