Experience and Wisdom

This week my son did something he’d been encouraged not to do, and suffered the consequence of his decision. Such is life. It got me thinking.

(Don’t worry, it was a diet choice, not anything life-changing.)

I want to say to him …

Son, it’s not that older people are so much smarter than you are, or that you’re especially stupid – neither of these is true. It’s that we’ve been around longer, and so have endured many more stupid things, and either done then (and it hurt) or watched other people do them (and seen them hurt), and want to save you from that consequence.

As a bright young man, you can respond to our admonitions in one of three ways.

  1. They’re probably wrong. I’m going to do it.
  2. They might be right. I’m going to do it anyways.
  3. They might be right. I’ll avoid it.

To an external observer, 1 and 2 look an an awful lot alike, but they are, of course, subtly different. #1 is youthful arrogance or self-confidence, resulting in foolishness, while #2 is often your desire to experiment and experience. After all, you learn best when you learn for yourself, right?

However, #3 is always the best choice on school days when someone else is going to have to be the one to pick you up at school.