Friday, March 29, 2013

Reflections on Wisdom

Youth are ahead in technology, but not always in wisdom. Are we passing on our wisdom to the next generation? Deuteronomy 6 expects us to. Mary in Luke 1:50 says, “His mercy extends to those who fear him from generation to generation.”

My teaching proves this generational transfer of values is difficult at best. I can think of two recent examples this last month.

First, stubbornness to change. As I have mentioned here before, several times a year I teach DUI classes for those arrested for impaired driving who are mandated by the state of Florida to take these 12 hour classes. I have the adults of all ages develop a plan for not getting another DUI. This is teaching wisdom. However, one twenty-something man actually said he will not have a new plan, but will continue driving after drinking. One day I may read in the paper that he has killed someone due to his impaired driving, because he refuses to change.

Sign I saw in a classroom

Second, defiance of authority. A high school girl in a class where I substituted said her mother was punishing her by not allowing her to use the Internet. I was curious and asked why because it would seem to me that she might need the Internet for some of her papers. “I woke my mom up and told her to go buy me some cake,” she said. “My mom refused and I cussed her out.” She had no sympathy for a hard working mother and I for one certainly concur with the mother's ruling restricting her daughter's computer use.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Character is higher than intellect.” So is character better than intellect? Can intellect can improve character and show wisdom? Only if that intellect pursues and chooses wisdom. Writing in the May 2012 “O” magazine, Nancy Ranger Anderson recalls, “One of my college English professors asked us to write a paper explaining the difference between knowledge and wisdom. At 18 years old, I saw no difference. Now I realize that wisdom really does come with age, maturity, and life experiences.”

On our recent trip I found out that my raps would be videotaped, and so Friday two weeks ago I was up at 4 am in Huntsville, Alabama finishing off another rap. My nephew is an Associate Pastor/Youth Minister and the rap below I wrote for his youth group. My niece and nephew videotaped me with several cameras so that the youth could hear it. My nephew introduced each segment and my creative niece is editing three videos with nine raps total and probably putting them on YouTube.* The rap below is going in my wisdom set.

If you don’t use your mind

You’ll soon be behind

And probably you’ll find

You’re begging with a street sign

You think you have THE potion

If you use your emotion

Think fun’ll get you our devotion

But it won’t get you that promotion

‘Cause emotion is no lotion

Just causes an explosion

Of me me me

In a sea sea sea

Of self-pity

Your own reality

So use your mind

Be careful with emotion

Get your education

Get your heart right

Heed God’s Word

Your future will be bright

You all have our prayers

You all have our devotion

First use your mind

But not your emotion

This is, young friend,

Life’s magic potion.

The last rap/poem addresses issues of maturity. I have been surprised at how well-received this rap has been when I have substituted in public schools in the past few days. One girl even said she liked that I mentioned God in this rap. I suspect God is only a curse word in public schools these days.

You have to use your mind and not your emotions to show maturity, unless you have Alzheimer’s. Here the mind and memory start to go, but emotions continue. Many think this is not the case and that both the right brain and the left brain start to deteriorate, but emotions do carry on into later stages of Alzheimer’s. Most of my wonderful conversations and prayer with my husband show emotion. Cognitive concepts are difficult for him. He will say Carol you aren't making sense.  However emotional talk of how we love our dog and each other make sense to him. He is very happy while I am gone teaching to enjoy a video with an emotional plot line while our dog is on his lap. I do try to use my wisdom to coach him. Yesterday I had to call him six times to get him to take his morning medicine. When I came home I praised him that he had accomplished what is on his schedule on his clipboard, but I do see his decline in cognitive functions. He can use his emotions, but depends upon my mind.


*Look for an announcement of the YouTube videos of nine raps my nephew and niece are producing. They have chosen M. C. A. C. as my rapper name. There is a lifestyle set, a classroom set and a wisdom set.

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