Wisdom, sapience, or sagacity is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight. Wisdom is associated with attributes such as unbiased judgment, compassion, experiential self-knowledge, self-transcendence and non-attachment, and virtues such as ethics and benevolence.
What does it mean to be wise?
My parents are both wise, they are: Worldly, Intelligent and Insightful, Sensible, Experienced and Ethical. They might not have many bits of paper to their name validating their knowledge, but they have taught my sister and I a lot about life, about how to be a good human.
I was lucky to travel a lot as child – my parents were both self-employed, they worked hard, ran successful businesses and did up a house. This enabled them to reward themselves with great holidays. My parents are quite young (I am 41 and they are only now 61 and 64) and my Dad is an adventurer, so our holidays always involved skiing, mountain biking or safari-type activities. Dad does not like to sit down, to Mum’s despair who would love to lie on a beach and a ‘real’ holiday! Growing up and developing that world view has made me a passionate travelling, I love exploring new cultures.
Intelligence and Insight:
I may be the one in our family with the BA Hons in Post Colonial Literature but my parents are the ones with the life experience. They can both beat me at Scrabble, Chess and Trivia Pursuit! My Dad’s specialist subjects are politics, history and the natural world, my Mum’s are children, cooking and gardening. Both have a business brain and are entrepreneurial. My parents taught us a lot of practical skills, encouraged us to be readers, to be curious and they made us emotionally intelligent too.
If being WISE means you are ‘sensible’ all the time then my parents may fail at this one. They can of course be serious, sensible and responsible, but they do not themselves too seriously – they taught my sister and I to be able to laugh at ourselves. Although I am the Saffy (AbFab) of the family and I am usually teased for being the ‘square’ one to be fair! I guess on reflection they taught us when to be sensible and when it is appropriate to let your hair down and have a laugh too.
Experience and Ethics:
We are not a religious family, I am christened but my sister is not (long story about the Grandmothers falling out at key events!), but we do have a strong moral compass. Mum and Dad have a strong sense of right from wrong and instilled that in us. They had a firm but fair parenting style, we have a very open relationship, we had few rules growing up but we respected the boundaries and did the right thing, most of the time. Sharing experiences as they happened, we were exposed to lots of things like conversations about finances that kept us grounded.
Saying I am a wise person, seems like an odd thing to say. It is one of those words that we say about others, rather than about ourselves isn’t it? My parents are wise and give good advice, which is a quality I know I have developed too, I am someone who people seek advice from, so I guess I am wise too.