I read a very interesting article in The Wall Street Journal about who young people turn to for advice. In short, the answer is that they largely turn to their peers, for a number of reasons. Being old, I have the sense that this is a really bad idea. But reading the article opened my eyes to a few things.
In general, I think people are well served by listening to older and more experienced people. Mark Twain once said, “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he’d learned in seven years.” Nowadays, it seems that the sense that parents are out of touch extends well into adulthood.
Historically, people have thought wisdom was linked to age. I am not sure the research bears this out, though it is inherent and explicit in most authoritative religious literature. Perhaps the research results vary from the assumptions because it is so difficult to live wisely for a long period of time. Longevity and consistency in relationships is all too rare, and we are regularly greeted by examples of middle- or older-aged moral collapse.
As I have written, wisdom seems to include dialogical and dialectical thinking at a minimum, the ability to consider others’ perspectives and to think long-term. Reading the Wall Street Journal article made me consider that perhaps people of my generation have different strengths and vulnerabilities than those of the generation of students I teach. Each has the potential for great wisdom, and also the opportunity to make crash-and-burn decisions.
I think what I have noticed is that my students, and my children, are far more dialogical than I am. They are incessantly communicating with one another and sharing their perspectives. They are getting input from all over—from best friends, from strangers, from Facebook, from authority figures, from the media. Though, to older people, they sometimes seem to have trouble distinguishing the relative reliability of the sources, they are listening.
That is the weakness of people like me. I become entrenched in my position, and I often fail to listen respectfully the way I should. In closing myself to those sources I consider to be of questionable reliability, I find that I have often failed to listen to unique viewpoints that may help me get closer to truth. More painfully, this can be true of me as a father. I want my children to see me as the expert, and I don’t always enter the conversation listening. Or worse, I wait for the weakness in their arguments to emerge, and I pounce. They rightly cut me off as a source of advice. Even when I am right, I am not to be trusted.
But my young friends have a weakness too, and that comes in the difficulty they have thinking dialectically. There is no way they can be expected to have a long-term perspective, when they have not had a life experience of major failings and mistakes, or of fruitful choices that paid off. Of course they underestimate long-term negative consequences of their decisions. Why wouldn’t they, unless they have experienced those consequences directly in the form of fallout from their parents’ lack of wisdom?
Where is wisdom to be found? I think it is in recognizing our vulnerability to these tendencies, and in engaging each other in conversations respectfully. For my part, I am working on becoming a better listener and not trying to solve problems before I even hear them. If that meets up with young people who really want to develop a long-term perspective, there is potential for real conversation. Even more, it may lead a few steps down the road to wisdom.
They say a father is someone who carries pictures in his wallet where his money used to be. That money is spent in hopes that his children will make wise decisions that lead to a good life. For me, it always seemed that financial investment, and my commitment to my kids, earned me the right to be heard, and listened to.
But I think, instead, it is an investment that must be combined with the kind of character in my own life that allows me to listen, even when it is hard to sit still. If I want to be wise, and to help my children grow in wisdom, I will need to engage them humbly and learn from them as well. And that is what I intend to do.
So, reader, to whom do you turn for wisdom? And why is it that you see that person as wise?
Your comments about the kind of father you want to be led my thoughts immediately to my own father (and mother, for that matter) as the answer to your last question. My dad has been at home with the Lord for over twenty years, and still reigns in my mind as the best man I’ve ever known. He had that quality of being able and willing to listen, not just to learn from us–though I’ve no doubt he would say that he did. I think he listened to draw from us, to help us discover wisdom–lessons learned from every day events. My dad was a college administrator and I have so wished for his presence during these past troubling months. He probably would not give me any answers, but he’d help me discover them.
I have never thought about how different our generations are in how we come to conclusions. Depending on the decision, I almost always discuss it with my close friends. The main reason I would turn to them is because they can relate to me and can understand what is going on, and at the same time give me a different perspective. Who I go to depends on how successful that person had been with an issue that is closely related to mine. If I saw that a person had success, I am much more likely to trust that advice and consider it more than a person who did not. My parents are second mostly because I feel like they are less likely to understand my situation. The reason I think this is because in the past they have sometimes been more likely to jump to conclusions rather than listen to the entire dilemma. This is true for most of my friends, and I think you are correct in saying what you did.
This could not be more true. I feel this describes the relationship between my father and I perfectly. I always get the feeling that he feels entitled to command expert status. I do not know if it has always been this way but, now more than ever kids have more access to alternative forms of information and do not have to be so heavily reliant on parental information. Much of commanding respect is found in being a good listener. This is something I struggle with as well. For me, it is a constant struggle to listen to someone who is talking about things I disagree with. I tend to think about my response before I hear the point though. I think that a lot of wisdom can be taken from elders, but it important to keep a broad perspective by getting information through a variety of sources.
The thing that frustrates me the most about the mentor/mentee relationships is that many of them don’t even begin. From a young person’s perspective that is in need of a mentor I find it hard to start this type of relationship with someone that is older. I have no problem humbling myself to good friends that I have had many experiences with by explaining my shortcomings and asking for advice. I do this all the time with best friends. But my close friends are not people that are 20-30 years older than I am that have the long term perspective to help solve dilemmas.
Some of these more experienced older people that cross through my life are people I respect and admire, but they are almost all seem unapproachable and maybe even more so if I do admire them. Now I know that the responsibility is on the young student to seek out the teacher and ask the questions to start the relationship, but I with it could be easier and in an accepting environment.
The quote I liked the most and could relate to from this blog post was, “They say a father is someone who carries pictures in his wallet where his money used to be. That money is spent in hopes that his children will make wise decisions that lead to a good life. For me, it always seemed that financial investment, and my commitment to my kids, earned me the right to be heard, and listened to” for the most part my parents had the same mentality that since they are financially responsible for me, I should always take their advice when in reality 20 or 30 years ago when they were put in the same situation as me on certain areas it has completely changed in terms of circumstances and social norms.
To answer your question about as to who do I turn to for advice, I would probably have to say my really close friends and teammates. Granted my parents have raised me from birth and have taught me well over the years, my friends were really there and could relate to some of the issues I was going through during certain times cause they have been through it before or going through it with me at the same time. They are sometimes easier to talk to and you wouldn’t have to censor everything. Sometimes your parents can be more biased to how you feel and will see any situation with you as the victim or the one getting hurt. With my friends they try to see it from all sides and will tell you how it is.
My parents and I do not always see eye-to-eye, which I am sure is the case for many of us, if not all. In high school, I turned to my parents for advice and guidance on only certain issues. I did not want their influence on many of my decisions so I decided to consult only myself, thinking that I ultimately knew what was best for me, or a group of close friends. In hind sight, I realize that the knowledge and perspective that my parents offered could have benefited me in my decision making process invaluably. Now, however, my parents are a guiding light. I turn to them for support most often. I believe the people we turn to depends on the objective of the outcome.
In regards to your question of who do I turn to for wisdom, I would say my mother. Not because she has the knowledge of a genious but because she helps me see light at the end of every tunnel. She’s will outright tell me when she thinks something I’m doing is wrong but she does not criticize me for it. Instead she give me word of wisdom to make a negative situation become positive. She know’s what it’s like to be young, have broken relationships and deal with temptations. I often call her and talk about how stressed I am and how school is entirely too much work but she always manages to spout out some form of positive, encouraging words. Sometimes it’s frustrating because I want her to agree with me and join in on my “pity party” but it never fails that she is able to lift me and help me view the situation in a positive light, and that, I’m thankful for.
When I sit back and think about who I turn to for wisdom, it becomes incredibly easy for me. My parents are undoubtedly who I turn to. I also believe that changes during your life though. For example, as a middle schooler, my parents were always annoying. They never had the right answer (in my eyes atleast). My friends always had the right answer. However, as I began to mature, it became very obvious that they had the right answer the majority of the time. I find myself saying sometimes, “How do they always know?” I have learned to recognize the different strengths in my parents. My dad is the one that I turn to with questions when I am frusturated or upset with someone or stressed out about the next exam. The reason I do this though is because he is calm, even-tempered, and intelligent. He also works when my mother does not. So, he has a more in depth of view of the trials and tribulations that we are faced with in the workforce and can always make me see the situation a little differently due to his experiences.
My mother, on the other hand, always has all my answers to questions such as what to wear to the event or how to approach an uneasy situation. My mother has a passion for service and for people, and she has instilled in me that passion. When it comes to relationship issues, she is the one that I always turn to.
I respect the life that my parents have lived. I have been truly blessed. So, when I approach obstacles or challenges, I have no reason but to turn to them. If I hope to live my life the way they did, then I feel like I have no reason but to turn to them.
An openness to change and ability to encourage others and listen intently is what makes a person wise in my opinion. Sometimes as people age, they seem to become “stuck in their ways” and lose touch with what is important to those younger than them, as you mentioned in your article. However, by always being willing to try new things and be a positive, encouraging influence to others, one can share wisdom and experience with others.
My grandma Ruth, who I call “GaGa,” is truly inspiring to me and is a great role model. Although she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s five years ago, she still has such a positive attitude. When I was younger, I would always come to Gaga for advice for two reasons: she really listened, and she always encouraged. I strive to be just like her as I get older!
I think being older does not always mean you are wiser. There are times that we need advices from our parents, our mentor, or our friends; we just need to listen, taking all the advices into consideration, and choose what suits you best. I often feel that when my parents or some other people giving some advices to me it was more like an “order” rather than just advices. But I think that they give their best advices based from their experiences which could be outdated or inadequate sometimes. I know that they have good intention for doing so, but you also need to think it through before making your own decision.
This article reminds me the old Chinese phase of “Benefit of A Day,” means that someone born even one day earlier than someone else has more experience and knowledge and is thus slightly superior to the other person. It is said to come from a remark made by Confucius (Kong Qiu) to his pupil- “I have the benefit of a day over you (I may be older than you), but do not allow that to intimidate you.”
I believe that wisdom comes from from breadth of experience and making hard but right choices over time. This usually corresponds with age, because experiences pile up over time and right decisions build character. Age does not necessary result in wisdom, because there are a lot of people who live unproductive lives that should not be emulated. There are plenty of middle age people who are wiser than old people due to the decisions they’ve made over the course of their lives. When seeking out wisdom, it is therefore important to not look at age along but also how the person has lived out their life and the decisions they’ve made. Everyone makes mistakes, but wise people own up to their mistakes. They live intentional lives and their labor has fruit, oftentimes in the form of right relationships with family and friends.
Nothing worth doing is ever easy. Wisdom is built over time by continually putting others above yourself and truly loving your family and friends. I look to my parents, who have lived wisely. But I also look to pastors that I have grown under because I see the fruit of their labors in their lives. So overall, age and wisdom are often correlated, but age is not the cause of wisdom.
As I read your blog, I really thought about the people I look to now, and if their age has any affect on the trust I’ve placed in them. I’ve come to the conclusion that the difference it makes is in the time for experience they have had on the earth, which younger individuals lack. However, your post did bring up a belief that I’ve always been troubled with. I don’t feel that just because someone is older that they should demand respect from those younger than them. I show this respect regardless because of how I was raised, but I don’t think it is always fitting of the person. For example, whenever my father and I get in an argument, he closes the conversation immediately, saying, “I am your father, so you will respect me.” That is exactly what I don’t agree with. One should gain respect because they have earned it, not because their position demands it.
Now I’ve gone off topic, from wisdom to respect, but I think the two go hand in hand for me. I have a great deal of respect for the people that I look to for wisdom and advice in life. The group of people range from friends, peers, professors, and parents, and their wisdom comes from life experiences or from their faith. But no matter who I turn to, I do so because I trust the individual and know that confiding in them will help me through my difficulties.
Throughout my childhood, my dad was always trying to be the “expert” in the family. I was a child full of questions, and whether he knew the correct answer or not, my dad would act like he had every answer in the world and answer my questions with utmost confidence. As I grew older, it was easier for me to tell which answers were actually true, and which ones were plain fluff. My dad would be proud of me when I called him out on a bogus answer; now I think this was his way to see if I was learning anything in school! My dad’s intentions were not to mislead me, or to teach me anything incorrect. He simply wanted to be the smartest man I knew, and the one I admired the most, which is what he got.
On the topic of going to your peers for advice, I don’t necessarily think this is a wrong thing to do. Because of the generational gap that you speak of, our peers often have answers that our parents don’t to today’s more pressing questions. Of course, our parent’s knowledge is indispensable, but our friends are there for advice as well.
I have recently learned that weak-tie relationships lead to more new business ideas and innovation than strong-tie relationships. Most of our relationships seem to be strong-tie in that we are most attracted to like-minded individuals who tend to reinforce insights and ideas we might already have. We like to be around people that have similar likes and dislikes, which is understandable because why would you want to be around someone who has constant conflicting opinions? On the other hand, weak-tie relationships that are formed between casual acquaintances are not as apt to be like-minded individuals, so one person may bring a new outlook or say something that sparks a completely new idea. I think it is an incorrect assumption that people always gain the most insight from their best friends or close relationships. When people that have different perspectives enter the picture, we take on those new perspectives as well, which in turn leads to wisdom and growth. Wisdom is gained through new perspectives and diverse experiences.
It is also imperative that we be “open” to different perspectives. How can a person grow in wisdom if he/she does not see different point of views? Ignorance will prevent growth. In addition, I believe that one of the reasons my generation does not see long-term, is because of the obsession with instant gratification. We have the solutions at our fingertips and the mindset of “I want it NOW” has prevented us from looking more than two hours into the future. My dad recently told me that he likes to look at the BIG picture because that is the only way you can see things clearly. By just looking at one piece of something, you might come to the wrong conclusion. The big picture includes long-term, which must be considered in every decision we make.
This is a very pertinent topic. I think we all know the importance of having people in our lives that we can turn to for wisdom, but many times it is hard to listen to and abide by the wisdom we are given.
I think many times people of my generation are quick to discount the advice of those older than us, especially our parents, because we think that they couldn’t possibly understand what we’re going through. This changes as we get older of course and we come to realize that we are more like our parents than we care to admit. But I think an important thing to realize is that while their may be a generational gap, we each have a responsibility to one another to not only give advice but to listen as well.
As the younger generation we are instructed to honor thy father and mother, and we have been taught from a young age to respect our elders. In our youth-obsessed western culture we don’t adhere to this principle as strongly as those in Eastern parts fo the world in which age is revered.
We all know that children have a responsibility to obey their parents, which to many may proove difficult at times, but the truly difficult task lies in the responsibility of the parent to dole out the wisdom. To know that the choices you make and the words of advice you give could stand to impact the lives of those younger than you is a huge duty to undertake. There is a passage in the Bible that I think instructs us how to adequately fulfill our roles in the interdependent relationship between the obedient youth and the wise elder:
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” … – 1 Peter 5:1-14
It is so good to hear other people’s perspectives on where wisdom comes from. All of us are seeking wisdom and desire to be wise and use that in our lives, but growing up it can be difficult to decide who to ask or even where to find wisdom. In childhood, I took for granted all the wisdom that surrounded me. People would throw little bits in here and there and I would catch some of it, but I was seeking to do good rather than live a life for the purpose of glorifying God and I need wisdom to do this.
Because I know my purpose in life, I can now look for people who exhibit this same purpose and glean wisdom from them. I have been studying biblical mentorship, and have seen numerous times either by example or command where older people are pouring into the lives of younger people. When you read with this lens of mentorship on, you realize that it is much more prominent than would have been expected.
In a mentor mentee relationship, both parties need to be humble and realize that they will learn from each other, but also that they need to sacrifice for each other. I believe that seeking people who have proven to be wise and asking them to pour into your lives is a good step in the right direction toward gaining wisdom.
I think that I have different people in my life that I turn to for different things. I know my number one person that I always ask for their opinion on things is my mom. She always listens and offers the best advice she can. If she doesn’t have something to help, she will find someone who can. I also have a few professors from undergrad that I consider to be my mentors. When I need advice on my career, I email or text one of them. They always seem to help point me in the right direction and always know the right things to say.
I would say that I approach my peers for advice on things in my life on a regular basis, but never for something that’s extremely important or big. Those kinds of things are what I talk to my parents and/or my mentors about. I think it’s important to utilize your peers in certain situations, but you’d be amazed at how much your parents really do know.
I hope that if one day I have kids, I will be the person they feel they can turn to for advice. And I hope that I will be able to listen and give them the magic answers.
I agree whole-heartedly with Twain’s comments about his father. As a brash teenager, I used to tell my father, “It’s not wisdom, it’s luck. There’s no way you could have known that would happen.” But in the same way that I look upon freshmen with an “oh I’ve been there” attitude, my parents raised me, having gone through many of the experiences that I am now encountering for the first time. Those experiences are what allow them to impart their wisdom to me, even at times when I was unwilling to listen.
I now turn willingly to my parents for advice because I know their love for me is genuine, and their wisdom comes from experience.
My father always tells me, “technology changes, generations change, but the way of life always stays the same.” I look up to my dad for a lot of advice, and although I may be much more skilled than him at a video game or computer software program, my dad still has much more experience than me. He is 53 years old, which puts him about 32 years more advanced than me. Companies now a days want to hire young kids to replace the older workers, but I feel that our elders have much more experience and are much more of an asset to the company than us newbie, fresh kids out of college. All in all, it is important to have a mentor that is older than us because our peers are naturally going to be competitive with us. Having someone to look up to that has much more experience, helps to instill “upper-hand” knowledge into our lives.
My mother is my source of wisdom. During my first few years of college, I began to contest this fact. My mother never attended college, and I felt as if she couldn’t relate enough to provide me with any valuable feedback. I was wrong. She has helped me with everything. When I was going through a crisis of what career path to take after deciding that I didn’t want to become a doctor anymore (after it being my dream for 15 years), she was there to support and counsel me. When I was debating whether or not to wear a pink shirt to an interview, she was there. No matter the issue, big or small, she’s been there. I couldn’t fathom going through these past crucial years without her. The older that I get, the more I realize just how smart she really is. Although she may not have the answer to my every question, she knows the fundamentals which help guide me into making a good decision.
I think i am more likely to go to my friends for advice more often, but when it comes to actually following the advice I will listen to my parents. I think when parents give advice it is expected that the children will follow it, but when a friend gives advice it is more just a suggestion. Plus, it is easier to bounce ideas back and forth with a friend, and a parent will think their idea is the best (which it probably is).
A lot of the times I don’t ask my parents for advice or I kick myself for asking them, because I want them to know that I am mature enough to figure out things by myself. It’s not that I don’t want their advice, but I want to try to be independent first. And when that invariably fails, I ask them for help!
I typically turn to my parents for wisdom, but this definitely wasn’t always the case. Growing up, especially during high school, I assumed that any answers my parents would give me would be in their best interests. That they would only give me answers that would lead me to make the decisions they wanted me to make. I now understand that this was not the case. My mother has always been my best friend, and I know that I can call her at any time with any problem. She is just as great at listening as she is at giving advice. She is a great example of the topic brought up by an ethics group earlier in the week of how important it can be at times to just be willing to listen.
Lately I have come to realize that being willing to just listen is definitely something that I can improve on. Like Dr. Shaub mentioned, there are times that I hold on to my position so firmly that I refuse to take other’s opinions into account. I have tried to make a conscious effort to become a better listener, but it is comforting to know that I am not the only one that has a hard time with this.
It is funny to see the transformation in the relationship between me and my parents over the years. In high school I never told my parents anything or went to them when I was seeking advice. At that age, I felt like they would have no idea how to relate to what I was going through. Since I’ve been in college my relationships with my parents have grown tremendously and now there is hardly anything that I don’t share with them. When I am making an important decision I always get opinions from both of my parents because they handle situations in very different ways. My dad is very rational, detail oriented, calm and likes to calculate the cost/benefit of the situation. My mother on the other hand is all about following your gut feeling. Majority of the time when I talk to her about a decision I am facing, she can tell which choice I want to make even when I can’t. In addition to seeking the wisdom of my parents for complicated and important situations, I also seek wisdom from my friends. I am proud to say that I look up to a lot of my friends and their opinions and suggestions are very valuable to me. I feel like they always can see other sides of situations and alternative actions that I don’t always think of. I think its important for us to get advice and seek wisdom from people of all ages. Whether it be peers, younger friends/family, or your elders, everyone has advice and knowledge to share.
Without a doubt, my parents are the two people who I always go to for wisdom. While I do receive and process information from other sources (i.e. friends, Facebook, etc.), that advice is evaluated much more cynically than anything my parents ever tell me. I know that my parents have my best interests at heart, and consequently I know that I can trust them to always steer me in the right direction. Lately, however, certain situations have come up on which my parents and I have differing viewpoints. I think the situation should be handled one way, and my parents think it should be handled another. While this may be incident-specific, I think this moreso has to do with the different generations, as you mentioned in this blog. While it is every parent’s hope that their children will listen to every piece of advice they offer, sometimes it is up the child to make their own decisions and learn a lesson themselves from whatever consequences may arise.
I don’t ever turn to one person for my problems, my family as a whole helps me take each of the hard steps I have faced during my life. Each family member has their own understanding and their own ear for certain situations. The best thing you can do is to learn from the mistakes that those before you have made. Every situation is different but with people’s past experiences you can really find an answer to the problems you face in the present. Sometimes all you need is someone to lend an ear for you to make your final decision. I hope to be an available ear to my peers and my family and I am glad that they have always been there for me. Advice is hard to give but we need to be sure whether advice is what people are really searching for or if they are just searching for someone to hear their story.
I like to look at the problem and think about who might have the best advice for me. If I know that someone has had the same issue or maybe has some expertise then I will ask him/her. Usually I will consult with multiple people before I make my decision. Everyone has a different perspective and I like to hear all sides. I wouldn’t say I go to one age group more than another. It just depends on what the issue is.
To answer your question, I turn to my parents for wisdom, but it wasn’t always that way. As a kid, I viewed my parents as the law enforcers or punishers, and as I got a little older, they just became annoying and embarrassing. It wasn’t until I went to college that I really began to appreciate my parents’ wisdom and opinions. I know that my parents just want what is best for me, and they use their wisdom from their experiences to guide me in my decision making. There are times when we disagree, but I think that is just the generation gap. Ultimately my decisions are up to me, and I will gain my own wisdom from the consequences of my decisions.
I feel that certain people are blessed with the spiritual gift of wisdom. I have a couple of friends who I find to be blessed with this gift, and they are my accountability partners, the ones I expect to keep me in shape and the ones I ask the hard questions to. One of the qualities of being wise is having discernment. With every year, I find that I get more and more discerning. Every year I look back at the past year and think of how foolish and immature I was. I find that wisdom is not of my strong suits, but it is not something that couldn’t be acquired or enhanced with more study and dedication.
I find my little brother, who is 18, to be one of the most mature teenagers I know. He is self-disciplined, a true man of the Lord and I am amazed at his discernment, which is so rare to see at his age. My mom called me the other day concerned with some of his choices that he was making. Since he was more mature for his age, she was holding him to a higher standard. I told my mom that even though he was very mature for his age, he was still immature in so many ways BECAUSE of his age, because of his lack of wisdom. A young person can be very wise for THEIR age, but there is still a lack of experience; they haven’t experienced life yet. Yet that doesn’t mean that someone younger can’t be more wise than someone who is older. There are so many factors to consider and take into account. I think there is something to take away from all ages, and we need to swallow our pride and embrace the beauty each individual has to offer.
I agree with the points made in this article 100%. I have a 10 year old brother who I am constantly trying to give guidance and a father who is consistently trying to feed me advice so I understand your arguments from both angles. You mentioned in your passage that wisdom can be found by recognizing our vulnerabilities to the aforementioned tendencies, which is something that I have personally grown better at over the past few years. During my adolescent years I often disregarded my father’s advice but as I have grown older I have realized how insightful many of his arguments were. Also, I have grown in such a way that I can be more understanding of my brother and I don’t go into every pep talk with a “I’m right and your wrong” attitude. Generation gaps are a real obstacle we face when we interact with significantly older or younger individuals and if we keep that in mind we might actually learn something and hence, find wisdom.
I believe that just about everyone has at least a little bit of widsom. Some definitely more than others. My brother, Chris, is one of those guys that just has it. He’s the guy I almost always go to when I’m struggling with something or have a serious question. My brother is only 25 years old, but he has been through some difficult times and has come out better than he was before. Chris is a Godly man and a great person. He is currently in seminary at DBU, and he works at a church in Coppel as an assistant youth director. Consequently, I know when I come to him for advice, I’m going to get an answer that will most strengthen my faith.
My brother isn’t perfect. He has made some bad mistakes in his life that he deeply regrets and makes sure will not happen again. I think this has a lot to do with his wisdom. He knows the consequences of the decisions we make because he has dealt with them. This makes his wisdom even more valuable, because he knows that it’s right. Chris is just one of the many wise people that I have been blessed to be around. But, his wisdom means more to me because I’ve seen him gain this wisdom throughout the years.
I think one of the most important aspects of this post is the connection between wisdom and long-term perspective. For some reason, I have always been the one that thinks more about the long-term affects than the present consequences. And after reading this post, I realize that it is probably due to the close relationship I have with my parents.
The thing with which you claim to struggle (listening before solving) is something I believe my parents have done extremely well. Because they have been so open-minded and willing, I find it easy to communicate with and confide in them. In turn, our open relationship has shown me that their opinions and their perspective is normally more accurate than mine.
I suppose it is merely an experimental realization. I am a people-pleaser, so perhaps I began by trusting their wise advice out of obligation and desire to please. However, over many years of decision-making and taking their opinions to heart, I have learned that they almost always know best. Even if young minds are fresh and smart, past experience leads me to believe that older minds are, indeed, wiser overall.
Just as a side note, I must also agree with Brooke Foster’s comment above. Although my parents are my primary source of wisdom, I am certainly confident that there are young people blessed with that gift as well.
For the most part, I let the situation dictate who I will seek advice from. The people that I am closest to have expertise in different areas, and when I am making a decision, I will likely seek wisdom from the parties who have had experiences that are applicable to my situation. More often than not, this leads to me having a discussion with my father. My father was born to teenage parents, and has had to work hard to give his family the life he wants for them. I have a tremendous amount of respect for my father, but it is still difficult, at times, for me to ask for help from him. A lot of this has to do with pride. I want my father to be proud to call me his son, and I want to show him that I can handle difficulties in my life on my own. The truth, however, is that I need people like him in my life to guide me. I have to be willing to say that I need help. This has gotten easier as I have gotten older. I consider my father to be an abundance of wisdom, because I know he has endured a lot in his life.
I enjoyed reading this post. I think many people agree with your first thoughts that youth should turn to elders for wisdom. Some of me agrees with this thought. There are many times that I have turned to my parents and adult mentors in my life for advice. Many times this is advice looking into the future with hopes that they will give me their insight into the life they have already lived. I am a full believer that you grow wiser with age and have been extremely blessed to have two loving parents who have spoken truth into my life. But in different situations, many times I turn to my sister, who is three years older than me, for advice. I do believe she is wise beyond her years, but she is my best friend and my go to when it comes to almost anything. I think I turn more frequently to her than to an adult because we are so much alike in personality. Seeing as we are sisters and growing up we had many of the same interests, this lead us to having very similar life experiences. If I am ever questioning a decision that I am to make I know that she will always fill me with truth. Sometimes this is truth that I do not want to hear and other times it is right on path with what I was leaning towards, but I am confident in her love for me that she would never intentionally lead me astray. I am extremely thankful for the Lord blessing me with a sister and one at that who is my best friend. I know that her life experiences can always guide me in the right direction.
I think that many times the younger generation, including myself, forgets to be still and think through decisions. We have so many forms of communication at the tips of our fingers. We prefer to post our tough decisions on the internet and consider the responses of peers rather than think through a decision personally and seek out specific people for advice. For me, I consult my parents, especially my dad, for advice. I consider my dad the wisest person I know. He has more life experiences than me and has learned from his mistakes throughout the years. Also, is not really outgoing. Instead, in a group atmosphere, he lets others talk and he observes. I think this side of his personality gives him time to think and reflect to ultimately make the right decision when a hard choice comes along. It was interesting to hear your perspective about how the different generations view wisdom.
This a great post. I have many different sources of wisdom that I look to for answers and guidance, depending on the problem that I am currently faced with. I reference my parents, my brother, close friends whom I trust their advice, books on the topic at hand, “experts” of the topic that I know or can contact, or any other source I can trust and is relevant. There are many different sources available with the increased amount of technology, but I still believe that Wikipedia is not always the right starting point.
I believe that it is so helpful to make a decision when you can draw from another person’s past experiences. I have a similar background with my father and mother, as well as my brother so each of them are a great source to ask questions about different decisions. I can draw on their experience and perspective.
It amazes me how committed parents can be to helping you with advice and support. That is what makes me grow and helps me stay grounded. Every time I am in a bind, I call my parents at work or home and they are so excited to talk to me and help me with advice. It makes me feel so good to feel them take an active role in my life and to see how much they value talking with me. As a result, I always want to come to them for more and more advice. I can only hope to be nearly that supportive to my kid when I am a father.
I am a strong believer in the “older is wiser” phrase. I admit that I often turn to my friends to ask for advice before I call my parents or grandparents; however, often that is to seek advice for trivial problems. When I am dealing with something in life that I truly need advice on, I always call my Dad. I have always looked up to my father in every aspect of life, and I take his advice to heart. I trust him. I will also discuss my Dad’s advice with my Mom, Nana, and older sisters.
I know they feel a sense of duty to truly help me.
Your question of who do I turn to for advice sparked an interesting thought process for me. I started thinking about the past few days and about the people that I have reached out to for advice recently. I came up with the people that I talk to most: room mates, friends, family. However, on further reflection I realized that with each of these sources, I am only partially listening to their advice.
For example, with my room mates, I take away their perspective only as it regards the short term. How can I trust their views on the long term things when they have just as much life experience as I do? Am I not just as capable of figuring it out on my own?
Then I considered my mom. I reach out to her for advice on most things, big or small, but sometimes don’t like what I hear in response. When this happens I easily rationalize to myself that she “just doesn’t get it.” After all, life just isn’t the same as it was when she was my age, right? Now I’m not so sure. Perhaps it’s time for me to listen more as well. I’ve surrounded myself with these people because I love them and they love me, so maybe it’s time for me to appreciate what they are saying in its entirety.
The Mark Twain quote above couldn’t be more fitting for how I view my relationship with my parents and other elders in my life. I assume many members of my generation have felt the same epiphany that our parents might have actually known what they have been talking about all of this time. For me personally, I feel that barrier fell after gaining a bit of wisdom of my own. I can only assume now that this was part of my parents’ wise master plan, but they let me make my own mistakes. At times, they forced me to make the decisions on my own. Enduring moments of isolated calculation made me grow to appreciate the guidance I had available and to also gain a frame of reference for what they have been through. When things are easy while you’re young, the struggles and sacrifices of those older than you can’t be framed in your mind, but as difficulties in your life grow so does your appreciation.
Since the day I was born, all my mother had to do to get me to not want to do something was to tell me it was a good idea. My mom and I couldn’t be more different. From clothes, to food, to boys, to college – her input was the one thing I never wanted. Now, that couldn’t be further from the truth. For almost any decision or exciting moment in my life I want her involvement, even when she is not at all interested. I understand the resource I have at my disposal in her wisdom and experience, as I see the foundation of guidance she established in me unfold everyday. Part of me wishes that I could have fully appreciated her wisdom when I was younger, but I know that if it were not for my own mistakes I would not be in that place that I am now.
We best learn through experience, and I agree that older is wiser. When seeking advice we do seem to often turn to peers, who will usually share the same mentality or viewpoint as we do, as we are truly looking for confirmation not dissent. We should look to others that have a different point of view and embrace that dissent, and look to those that have had a similar experience in life. But no matter how old or how wise, we all have things to learn in life and others to learn from.
This article raises some interesting points. There are probably a number of us in college that are in the unique position of experiencing this from multiple angles. I feel that I have personally progressed a great deal in the past 5 or 6 years when it comes to realizing the wisdom of my parents and placing greater weight on their advice. At the same time, I still tend to question the relevence of their advice to me. They are so old, does that really apply now? On the other hand, my brother, a senior in high school is in the process of making many important life decisions. I try to share with him my perspective and make suggestions as to what he should do. Most of the time, he completely ignores my advice. I’m not sure if it’s laziness or if he thinks that my experience does not apply to him. It has been extraordinarly frustrating and has given me some insight as to what my parents must have felt. True wisdom is not knowing everything, rather it is knowing what it is you know and what it is you don’t.
I definitely go to my parents when I need important advice, especially my mom. In high school, I felt she had no idea of the challenges I was going through. As I have grown older though, she has become, not only a mentor to me, but a best friend that I can confide in about anything. I’ve also come to realize that she has experienced many of the things that I’m experiencing now, and has had a first-hand insight into the difficult decisons I’m facing. I do agree that older is wiser, because they have already experienced situations and have learned from their own mistakes, and I think if we truly take the time to listen, we can learn a great deal from them.
When I was younger I would always look to my older brother, because he was my inspiration and I admired him. Nowadays, I turn to my parents and my older sister. I turn to my sister because ever since she went off to college our relationship has become the closest amongst us three kids. We also seem to have an understanding for each other, seemingly knowing why we do the things we do. A lot of times I go to my parents for advice simply so I can learn more about them- what they experienced when growing up, why they made the choices that they did and who they are as people. I think Baz Luhrmann’s song “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” sums it up best for me, “Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.”
While positively correlated with age, I feel that wisdom can be found in many different forms. When you are young, your naivete may actually allow you to see concepts or ideas in ways older people couldn’t imagine. The older is wiser concept, of course, comes from the fact that because older people have seen and experienced more situations, their advice would more likely be more accurate. The problem is that times are changing and it is necessary to listen to our peers because their advice may be more likely to apply to the world today. I believe that my parents are very wise people and have led me to be who I am today but my peers are more wise in certain topics or situations.
This is a very interesting topic that I have never thought of. The wisdom I believe I have learned from is mostly from my mom. My look is like her and I think that she is a very clever person in my mind and learn a lot from her about how to behave and how to deal with things. However, I think that I should really open myself to outside wisdoms. The sources are varied, professor (Dr. Shaub, Dr. Smith, etc), classmates, friends or strangers. I should absorb any good quality that I believe. For example, from this blog, I can see that Dr. Shaub is always self-examining and judge himself objectively. I think that it is not easy because people usually do not want to admit that they are not good enough, but fairly good. I believe that the hardest thing in my life is to have objective cognition of myself and correspondingly adjust my attitudes. But I will try my best.
I think that the older are wise because they always have more experiences than the younger; no matter good experiences or bad ones, they can teach us for something. The middle-or older aged moral collapse has told us that real ethical dilemmas are harder than we could imagine. Their lessons and experiences have given us reference and told us how to face with the same issues next time. The lessons are precious and can help us, the younger, to develop our wisdom.
My parents are undoubtedly the most sought after in my life for wisdom. They are both incredible individuals separately and together that have so many life changing experiences beyond mine. However, most often, I do turn to my friends and peers on a day to day basis to make daily decisions and battles. I think each generation sees the world a little differently, and our generation as you mentioned is very good at seeing and understanding everyone’s perspectives and thoughts. I think this has to do with the how we have grown up and the media surrounding us. We have been taught from a young ago to accept and love everyone no matter what they look like, or believe. I think we took this to heart, and the generation who was telling us to do so, did not listen to their own advice. I know there are certain subjects I do not discuss with my parents, because as soon as I do they close up and as you said already know the answer and stop being open.
The Mark Twain quote you included certainly parallels how my relationship with my father has developed. We used to have such bad fights that I thought I was the only kid I knew who had to deal with it. However, since moving away from home, I’ve been able to recognize how much I value his support and input. He is my number one source for wisdom, and he always has been. I just wasn’t able to recognize it when I was younger. You made a point that wisdom is found in recognizing your vulnerabilities. I believe it was Mr. Cobourn who told us when he visited that it’s important to “know enough to know how much you don’t know.” I’ve had another professor in Mays who echoed the same sentiment nearly word for word. I think that statement is a simplified version of your thought. Nobody knows everything, but those who are truly wise are those who can recognize where they are vulnerable, and they seek to strengthen those areas vulnerability. That struggle against complacency is a sign of wisdom.
I think like most of my peers, I mostly look to my parents for my wisdom. There is comfort in knowing that no matter the issue you need guidance on, they will always be there without judgement. I know that no matter what I will face, my parents will be there to face it with me. Recently, I have also turned to my best friend and my boyfriend. Like my parents, I know that with them I always have someone on my side. I also know that they have my best interests in mind. Since they know truly the person that I am and the person I want to become, they can help guide me in that direction. After reading and thinking about this topic, I feel blessed to have such people in my life. Since my sources for wisdom are from different generations, I think I get a good balance of opinion. One thing I have learned from class is that when you are faced with difficult decisions, you should have other’s input. It is such a comforting feeling knowing that I will never have to look far for that input.
I think you are absolutely right in your assessment of older not necessarily meaning wiser. Anytime I need advice I turn to my father. I trust that he will give me advice that will be most beneficial to me. Anytime I tell him a problem, I know he actually listens and doesn’t give an ambiguous or indifferent response. He understands that the way things were handled 20-25 years ago, aren’t necessarily handled that way now. In terms of being a father, I feel that is one of the most important things they can do for their kids. Just be there for them and listen to their problems.
When I was in high school I viewed my parents as ancient and felt they could never relate to any of the problems I had. Now I realize the input my parents can have on situations and I truly value their opinions. Even so, I would say that most of my advice comes from my peers. I know my issue is about comfort, I tell my friends everything because they are the people I am most comfortable around and they know me the best. Talking to my friends is often easier and I feel like I can be open with them without being judged. In reality I think advice from peers versus advice from our elders is very different, but equally crucial. In my experiences I have found that when I get advice from my parents or someone older than me I find that the advice offered is often geared toward long term implications, just as you mentioned. When I talk to my friends about problems, the solution is usually more immediately focused on the consequences my actions would have today or next week. Not saying one is less valuable, but merely a difference in viewpoints that are both beneficial to reaching a solution. I think it is important to have someone older than us to talk to and feel comfortable to go to with our problems. Sometimes our friends simply don’t have the answers, or they may be biased toward a certain decision. This blog really makes me think about who I have to go to in times of trouble or uncertainty. I value all of my friends immensely but can’t help but wish I had more role models older than me that I could use as a resource to help solve my problems or simply talk to in times of need.
There are two people I got to when I need good advice. My mom and my dear friend Becky. I’ve always been really close to my mom so she gets to give me advice on all subjects. Becky you could call my mentor or my spiritual or ethical leader. I met Becky and her husband Jeremy when I was in middle school. They were my Sunday school teachers for several years. Becky is ten years older than me and we are very much alike, except she has been through more life experiences; college, marriage and two children. She lives a few hours away now but we still talk on the phone regularly. I go to Becky for the big stuff, or times when I know what I should do, but really don’t want to. When I turn to her for advice I know she’s going to give me sound, biblical reasoning behind what she tells me. My mom sometimes will give me the version I want to hear, but Becky tells me what she knows is right and can usually give me ten different reasons to prove it. I’ve heard her say “I know it’s hard, but…” and “I promise it will all work out” more times than I can count.
Sometimes it’s frustrating to me to think back to the advice my mom would give me while I was in jr. high and high school, and the fact that I never seemed to listen. Maybe part of the problem was that I also never really asked for the advice. So being an immature teen, I would mistake the motives behind the advice she was giving me to be her way of controlling me, instead of her way of truly looking out for me. Every now and then I think of decisions I’ve made or things that I wish I would have done differently, and I think to myself, “I’ll make sure my child does it differently.” Then I am reminded of the difficulty my mom had reaching out to me at that age, and I realize that I won’t be able to protect my child from everything. The only thing I actually can do is ensure that I pass the right values on to my children. After that, I have to sit back and let them figure out things for themselves. Of course the good news is eventually they’ll come around. I always heard when I was younger that once kids go off to college they become much closer to their parents and respect their opinions. It seems like in an instant I all the sudden snapped and my parent’s opinions became more important to me than anyone else’s. Of course I still continue to turn to the advice of the same best friends that I’ve had since jr. high. When it comes to the big issues though, I respect my parents’ guidance above all.
This subject is something I have thought about a lot lately. I am the kind of person that goes to people my own age for advice, because those are the people that I am closest to. What I have found is that the advice I receive ALWAYS differs drastically from person to person. I end up just following my gut or the advice of the person that I agree with the most at the time. I know that the right thing to do is to talk to older, wiser people that are neutral and removed from the situation completely. I honestly should ask my parents for advice more, but I am hesitant because since I young age I have been relatively independent of them. But whenever I do ask them for advice, I am always pleasantly surprised by how helpful and understanding they are. I think the reason that older people have better advice is because, not only do they have more life experience, but they have seen the long-term effects of the decisions that they have made in their lives and that their peers have made (like you said in their blog post). Maybe I should make it a goal to talk to my parents first whenever I have a problem or issue, even if I don’t think they will understand.
I think it’s important and possible to gather wisdom from multiple individuals who span multiple age groups. I believe that my peers and my elders both provide me with unique sources of wisdom, and each source brings a unique and important perspective. One might only consider wisdom to be obtainable from older people who have gathered wisdom over a lifetime of learning and decision making, but I also believe there is a separate body of wisdom that can be obtained from peers.
It’s important to gain wisdom from both groups, and remember to share similar ideas with members of each group in order to make the right decisions and become wiser. At the foundation of the idea is using our friends and relatives as resources, and the importance of having individuals that shape our lives and will be there for advice when faced with ethical dilemmas. At the end of the day it’s important to listen to those in our lives who can provide us with wisdom, and understand the unique perspective they bring.
I think with my generation we try to seem more independent to our elders, so we go out to our friends when we need advice for trivial matters. However, I think we all turn to our elders, especially our parents when we have a tough decision in our lives. I think we know in the back of our mind that our elders are more reliable than our peers. But, from my experience, I would much rather go to my friends for advice than my dad since we butt heads all the time about the dumbest things. But I know in the end, my dad most certainly has more wisdom than any of my peers that I know.
When seeking wisdom from others I look for perspective and experience. When seeking perspective I want to hear someone else’s opinion and thought process whose results are similar to mine, but I also want to hear the opinion and thought process that is different. Hearing the different side helps me to challenge what I have been thinking and go deeper into my considerations. When seeking experience I look for someone who has dealt with the same situation to see how they handled it and what the outcome was, but again I also want to hear the opinion of someone who lacks experience just like I do. Using both perspective and experience then looking at each side of those is very helpful to me. I don’t really want to say age plays a huge role in who I choose to seek wisdom from. I look more for someone who knows and has been in my shoes before first.
I do believe that the generational gap you’ve described is very much real. However, there are some things that just don’t change with time. As I’ve grown older I’ve realized more and more that my parents and older siblings have all dealt with many of the same struggles I will come across. With time, my younger siblings will begin to face these same issues. My goal is to let them know, before they get stuck in a hard place, that they have many sources of counsel if they choose to seek our advice (despite the fact that we’re all “old”).
To me this answer is very simple. I feel very blessed that I have a tight close knit group of people that I know I can turn to for advice. First and for most, my family. Not just my parents but also my siblings. My family always has my best interest at heart and I know that they are always going to tell me the truth even if it is not always what I want to hear. I hope that the wisdom that they bestow on me is something that I can give to them and my future children.
When I was young, I turned to my parents for advice. At that time, they protected me a lot, and in my little world, I believed my parents knew everything and could do everything. When I grow up, I often turn to my professors and supervisors for advice, since they know my confusion and they may have the same confusion when they were at my age. At the same time, my parents begin to ask my advice. I think the wise choice is that you turn to someone who used to have the similar experience as you have for advice. You cannot get good advice when you ask a native Japanese about the life in France.
Based on the different confusion you have, turn to some one to help you and give you wise advice.
I think wisdom is too often associated with age. Wisdom is something we gain through living. It is the product of our experiences and the reflections we have made on them. For this reason, I find that I usually turn to my grandmother for my wisdom. She has this amazing ability to reflect on her past experiences (both and good and bad) and find something positive within them. She shares this positivity with me yet, seems to remain completely objective in her advice. I think this ability to look back and remain objective is another incredible characteristic of being wise.
We often see the “wise man” as the person who has obtained success with lofty speech and ideas of grandeur. However this is often not the case. The person previously described is often self-righteous, arrogant, and narrow-minded. For much of my life, I have attempted to resemble that man. Priding myself on giving the best advice in a situation and then saying I told you so after they did not heed my warning.
It wasn’t until just recently, upon examining the lives of the men I respect the most, that I realized these characteristics do not often describe the wise man. Rather, the man who is wise is the man who refrains from speech. The man who listens intently and then repeats back the ideas laid forth. He is the man who then interprets and weighs both sides of an argument without taking a stance. Wisdom is not forcing an opinion on someone, but rather it is the acknowledgement of a lack of knowledge that creates a wise man.
The fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his own opinion.