This I Believe

Lynn - Wenatchee, Washington
Entered on June 1, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
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I Believe in Seeking Wisdom

Raising my wonderful daughter helped me to understand what I believe in. Earlier in life, I was skeptical, often going out of my way to point out how people’s beliefs often lead to negative and destructive behavior. Being cynical was fun, but as I grew, somehow it became my passion to find things I really could believe in.

So, by the time my daughter was born, I was ready with half a book full of things I wanted to teach her. Of course, as most parents learn, the wacky, challenging world of parenting turns out to be as much learning, as teaching. Good parents have to never stop learning, listening, thinking, loving…and trying to make ourselves wiser. I now believe that following this pursuit of wisdom is also the key to living the best possible life.

Along the way, the two of us have learned a lot. We worked through divorce, death in the family, the traumas of friends, evil boyfriends, the whole typical gamut. On Sundays, instead of church, we had great talks about anything important. I worked in lessons about everything from sex and drugs to meditation and nature. But, more importantly, I tricked her into thinking carefully and critically about all of it. She put up with me, and of course made me pay for these sessions with foot massages, chocolate milk, and countless other rewards.

Also, knowing that kids learn much more from what we do, than from what we say, we hiked, biked, played games, went out, did homework, you name it. Part of being a good role model is showing that spending quality time together really is one of the highest priorities. But, more importantly, I never stopped trying to make myself into the best possible person I could be.

Now, she’s off to college, and people will tell you that this daughter of mine has become an amazing, wonderful person. And, while I’m infinitely proud of her, I know that I only deserve a tiny bit of credit for that…just ask her mom. But, I know that the key to whatever contribution I’ve made comes from pursing wisdom.

Wisdom is a life-long quest to improve your ability to make the best judgments about the most important things in all parts of your life, and then to follow through on those judgments with the best possible courses of action. So, it’s a two-part process, good judgment plus right action. Without the action, you might have understanding, but not wisdom. Unfortunately, age doesn’t bring wisdom; we have to seek it out, study it, and practice it.

Wisdom weaves together clear thinking, good information, our beliefs, our best positive values, and our best ethical actions. In the five key realms of our lives, wisdom teaches us how to treat other people, our selves, the spiritual part of our lives, our community, and how to treat nature.

Following the wisdom path opens the doors to the best, richest, most rewarding possible life for anyone, anywhere. Of course, my daughter now claims, with a twinkle in her eye, that in spite of her best efforts, most of the time dad still doesn’t get it.