Finding Wisdom

life, experience“I’ll give you my wise woman discount,” she said. “Thank you,” I replied, before joking, “Is that your nice way of saying senior?”

The answer both surprised and pleased me. I was told of her belief that seniors have much accumulated wisdom, so she truly thought of them as wise. She also told me that too many people don’t recognize or appreciate this. Needless to say, I was quickly gaining respect for this young woman!

For many years, I didn’t think of myself as wise. I don’t have the formal education that many do. I don’t always make good decisions.  It took a long time to realize that these facts don’t negate the wisdom I’ve gained in my lifetime.

My wisdom has come from experience. I can’t speak for others in my age category, but for me, many of the learning experiences in my life have come from mistakes I’ve made. The longer I live, the more opportunity I have to make mistakes. They are an inevitable part of life. Over the years I’ve discovered that my mistakes have enabled me to gain wisdom.

When any of us are willing to be vulnerable and pass our experiences on to others, wisdom is shared. It’s nice to know that all the mistakes don’t have to be mine. I can learn from yours as well!

One of my favourite sources of wisdom comes from children. I have heard some profound things from my grandchildren. Young children don’t filter their words. They say what they think and feel. I have learned a lot from paying attention to them.

So, while I appreciate being called wise, I know it’s as a result of the mistakes I’ve made and also from paying attention to what I can learn from others. I’m also wise enough to accept the wise woman discount when it’s offered!

Me, a Teacher?

#inspiration, teach, learn,I had always thought of a teacher as someone who  imparted knowledge to a class of students. This could either be an academic program or some other creative endeavor. I pictured someone doing research, creating a lesson plan and presenting the knowledge in a way the learners could understand.

As a teenager, my career goal was to be a kindergarten teacher. Life had other plans and I didn’t get the education necessary for this. The closest I came to fulfilling this desire was to spend several years as a Brownie leader. My opportunity to be a teacher has long passed.

Recently I read a book that changed my thinking. The author explained how all of us are teachers.

I teach by my attitude and behaviour. You may be observing and learning from me even when I am not aware. If that is the case, what am I teaching?

When I lose my temper, am tense, unforgiving and judgmental I’m teaching negative emotions. You will either learn to do the same or to stay away from me. Neither is acceptable.

If, on the other hand, I am peaceful, respectful, encouraging and empathetic I am teaching a lifestyle you will want to know more about. My example will draw you closer.

I learn best from someone who is open and honest. Your challenges and how you deal with them teach me I don’t have to appear to have it all together. I learn there is freedom in being authentic and want to pass this lesson on to others.

My teaching comes from life experience and lessons learned along the way. It is not only formal education that has the power to impact lives. I don’t have to spend time in study and preparation in order to teach. Instead, I need to be aware you are learning from me before I even open my mouth.

In that case, I pray my attitude and behaviour are teaching the right things.

Couloured by the Past

#inspiration, wisdom, futureThe door to the pool changing room opened and a woman entered, holding the hand of a whimpering child. Mom was telling her young child that sometimes we all have to do things we don’t want to do. For good measure, she added, “Even adults.”

It didn’t take long to discover why the child wasn’t happy about attending swimming lessons. Mom said, “I know your last teacher wasn’t very nice, but you might have one this time you really like. You can’t judge this experience by what the last one was like.”

Wise words indeed! I know this is something I have been guilty of. When an experience is unpleasant, the last thing I want to do is repeat it. What I fail to remember is circumstances change which means the result may not be the same as in a previous encounter.

If I don’t want to let my past dictate my future, I need to have the courage to try again. There is nothing I can do about the past. What I do today will determine my future. It’s up to me to decide which one I’m going to focus on.

“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell