Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’

Old Wisdom

April 1, 2012

Sometimes a discovery will leave me pleasantly surprised.  We think our world is unique in its technological advancement and sophistication, yet some wisdom is timeless.  Here is my discovery today.

“You know that the beginning is the most important part of any work, especially in the case of a young and tender thing; for that is the time at which the character is being formed and the desired impression is more readily taken…Shall we just carelessly allow children to hear any casual tales which may be devised by casual persons, and to receive into their minds ideas for the most part the very opposite of those which we should wish them to have when they are grown up?  We cannot…Anything received into the mind at that age is likely to become indelible and unalterable; and therefore it is most important that the tales which the young first hear should be models of virtuous thoughts…”

Who do you suppose said this, and how long ago?

Plato

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What to Keep and What to Get Rid of: Memories

August 24, 2009

Psychologists have made a lot over memories, taking them out, understanding them, sorting them out, healing them, till we think the past is fundamental to how we live our lives today.  However, I think everyone of us can remember being sabotaged by memories.  Upon trying something new and slightly risky, the memory of a past failure may sabotage our confidence.  Doing something differently than our parents would may conjure up a memory of our parent berating us for something.  Clearly, not all memories are helpful, yet most of us have a storage closet full of negative memories that keep popping up either willingly or unwillingly on our part.

Likewise, some positive memories can sabotage our progress if we “sit on our laurels”.  We all know people in middle age who seem to have never left high school and live with the accomplishments and rewards of those days.  There’s also the men who never left the military, or the company, or the team.  There are women who won’t let their kids grow up.

Memories that are helpful are  blessings for which we can be thankful.  A grateful spirit is one of the best indicators of a happy personality.  We can cultivate a grateful spirit by living in the moment, truly enjoying each blessing around us.  We can savor the experiences in the present and be gratefully sensual, whether it be over the aroma of coffee, the colors in our garden, the home we’ve been so fortunate to live in, clean clothes, and on and on.  We can also savor experiences of the past and be grateful.  On days when it seems there’s little to enjoy, we can take out scrapbooks and remember blessings of an earlier time, thanking God for all the good things that happened.  Such things never fail to revive me on my rainy days.

As far as painful, negative memories, is there ever a time to take them out again?  Sometimes there was a lesson learned or wisdom gained.  I would take out the lesson or the wisdom, thank God for them, and let go of the memory.  God is going to erase all those memories at the end of time anyway.  He will erase all our sins and mistakes, and wipe away every tear.

Memories of people and the love we shared with them are definite keepers.  Memories of times God worked in our lives are not only keepers, but something to share with someone who needs a bit of encouragement today.

I like to remember some special, peaceful, beautiful places I’ve visited.  I go there again sometimes, enjoy the emotions the mental picture evokes, thank God for allowing that special place to be part of my experience, and come away refreshed.  God is good.  Always. 

Most of all, I like to remember promises in the bible: especially promises Jesus made when He walked the earth.  I write down some of his sayings and just enjoy reading them again and again and thinking of them.  These give me hope and joy.

Yes, just like possessions, some memories give us beauty and happiness.  These should not only be kept, but nurtured.  Other memories bring us down.  They really should be given back to the God who let us experience them, and let Him decide what to do with those people and situations.  This can be very freeing.  It can erase bitterness.  I have sometimes written down a fragment of memory that has been bothering me and burned it in the fireplace, signifying its God’s now and not mine to worry about anymore. 

Cherishing a memory that builds me up and warms my heart lets me experience that blessing forever.

Will We Ever Understand Everything?

July 4, 2008

Someone commented recently, and I can’t remember where I saw it, that this generation feels entitled to answers to everything.  Our scientific progress has been so great we now just expect we should be able to understand it all.  If we don’t understand it today, it just needs more research, and we’ll surely understand it soon.  We think we can get it all figured out, and then we will replicate what is there, and do it even better our way.  We are, as I’ve said before in another post, in our adolescence as a civilization.  Teenagers master electronic gadgetry better than their parents, and then assume they know more than their parents about everything–never mind the wisdom that comes with age and experience.  Humankind is in much the same stage today.  We just assume we will comprehend the what and how of everything, and we’re much smarter than humans have ever been.  What if we’re wrong?  What if our brains are of an eventually limited capacity and we begin to discover things we can’t understand?  We are so arrogant, shaking our fingers at God, and demanding He explain himself to us, or pounding our chests saying everything is explainable without Him, so He probably doesn’t even exist.  As humans, we haven’t yet reached the age and experience level where our wisdom kicks in.  We haven’t yet realized how much we don’t know, don’t understand, and maybe never will understand.

Along a similar train of thought, is the faulting of God for human suffering.  People say “I can’t believe in a God who would allow these things to happen, so I don’t believe in God at all.” When I was young, this was where faith stepped in, and I just stubbornly clung to the idea that God was more vast than I could understand, and somehow He knew what was best even if it looked all wrong to me.  Then I became a parent and two things happened.  One of our children required surgery, and the child was old enough to comprehend there would be pain and to be scared.  And that child said to me “Don’t let them do it if you love me.”  Now this surgery would save the child from future disability, but he couldn’t comprehend that, and it broke my heart.  Another time our baby had to have a procedure done that would be potentially lifesaving, and I cried in the hallway as the baby cried in the room.  I thought I could understand then, something of how a God of love hears these questions of “why”.  When the child suffers and is incapable of understanding the reason, and you are a loving parent, you cry too.  And when your rebellious young adult child who “knows it all” starts climbing “fools hill”, and you just know what they will suffer because they won’t listen–you cry again.

Nonni

The Human Race in its Teenage Years

April 12, 2008

After spending time, recently, with my teenage grandchildren, I am reminded of all the things that made me pull my hair out as a parent of my own teenagers.  Teenagers absolutely know everything.  They insist they don’t need anyone.  If they don’t know something, they’d rather look it up on the internet or try to figure it out on their own rather than ask an adult.

I was appalled when I drove my granddaughter to a party, and she wanted me to drop her off a block down the street, because she didn’t want her friends to see her with me.  I am told its not cool to be seen with parents, or any other adult relative.  I guess the teens like to fantasize that they don’t have parents and have just always been here, never born, never babies.  They seem uninterested in anyone’s wisdom or experience.  As Will Rogers said, “Some people can learn from the experiences of others, but most have to touch the electric fence for themselves!”   Teens are sure nothing will ever happen to them, and their favorite saying is “I KNOW!”  They are so sure they know everything, they bypass, ignore or refuse to believe anything that doesn’t fit their preconceived ideas of whats cool.  They want no rules, no restrictions, no responsibilities, but if they really get into trouble, the screams for a bail out are unbearable.

What really hit me, as I was returning home, is that teenage behavior toward adults looks like much of humanity’s behavior in relation to God.  We humans insist we have all the answers, or will have, if we just work a little longer.  We have a mindset about what the world is like, and we won’t acknowledge the truth of anything that doesn’t fit our preconceived ideas about the universe.  We are sure we will one day control the whole thing.  The very idea that something got us here, or nurtured us, is abhorrent to us.  We aren’t thankful for anything–we’re sure whatever didn’t just evolve, was of our own making.  We don’t acknowledge God, don’t seek wisdom, and don’t want to acknowledge anything beyond what we understand and control.  Yet, when we fall off our scaffolding, we insist somebody is going to bail us out, somebody is going to pay.  Thats where the lawyers come in, but don’t get me started on that.  I’m sure God is slapping his forehead, wanting to hurry us on out of this stage.

Nonni