Wisdom. How is it obtained?

As a kid growing up in the late 60’s and 70’s I was the ‘beneficiary’ of a series of new waves in public education. Those waves were ‘revolutionary’ changes in how subjects were taught. For example:

  • We learned the “New Math” and the result was that my parents couldn’t fathom how to help us with homework.
  • We learned “Phonetics” and the result was that our spelling has never been any good. Thank heavens spell check exists now. But then it bombs me by replacing words I want with ones the machine things are best.

Instead of studying history and geography we studied ecology and evolution.

The main thrust of the educational revolution has been to teach “knowledge acquisition” — the ergonomics of learning how to learn.

This replaced memorization, repetition and recitation that had been the foundation of western education for the masses since it began.

I wonder though, if children can be taught wisdom from nothing.

I wonder if our children would best served by re-committing the process to the ‘outdated’ forms of memorization of important facts, figures and reading such things as great swaths of classical literature and the Bible.

“I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion.” Prov. 8:12

It’s occurred to me that part of the reason we seem to be witnessing such pointed moral and ethical decay — is that these values have been left out of education.  Children are instead taught a de facto basis for self-oriented relativism.

“What’s important to me, I’ll learn about that.”

Is it a fault in our present educational methods that we don’t embed in the memory and experience of our children the foundations of our culture?  These would be items of fact and faith that as young adults and in later years as leaders — such items would comprise the wisdom leveraged to advance our society. Our leaders would use these items, common to our core of culture, to shape consistent policies.

If we embed the facts and fundamentals in the minds of children, when it’s time and they need to recall the experience and wisdom of prior generations — these facts and fundamentals will come quickly to mind. As adults they will recognize and apply the wisdom of our fathers.

As it is — I think we are observing a rudderless generation of leaders who believe in most cases that everything that came before must be replaced with new ways and new ideas and that the experience of our forefathers was not contextually relevant to the issues of today.

“Those unwilling to learn from History, are doomed to repeat it.” Geo. Santayana.

https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/George_Santayana – Some of what he’s recorded for us is worth re-reading.

For the sake of the argument what I’m saying is we should be teaching right and wrong to youngsters. Simply put: obedience to the golden rule and others. We should not be arming kids with the selfish perception that right and wrong are matters they can decide for themselves.

I know that in the institutions that I serve — jails and prisons — the cogs and machinery of the state and federal administrations are not concerned with spiritual growth. Administrators are strictly limited and therefore only concerned with moral reformation.

Returning to traditional learning, an early education filling up on the stored wisdom of the world — not at the time completely comprehended — would be felt in cleaning up the penal system by pre-weighting the moral scales, moving the fulcrum on the levers of decision making.

It’s all about choices.

“…choose ye this day whom you will serve…” Joshua 24:16

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