Saturday, July 9, 2016

Wisdom, why is it missing in our lives…

Wisdom is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight. Yup, I lifted that from my favorite web spot, Wikipedia.

How does one come by having wisdom, without going through the gambits of life, growing up… making mistakes, doing some things right and so on? For centuries this came from parenting, grand parenting, experience and education. There is the sense that the devolution of the family unit has contributed negatively to the transition of wisdom from one generation, to the next. Parent to child and grandparent to grandchild… missing in many families due to distance… in miles and culture.

If this is correct, and if wisdom has value to society, it is likely that the shortage will be in the first thirty years of people’s lives. Also, one can posit that the accumulated wisdom in the last 30 years of people’s lives might also go to waste since it can’t be handed down to grandchildren for the same reason…

Some would have us believe that all of the lost valuables like a grandparent spending quality time with a grandchild teaching an old technique like woodcarving, or talking about family history are useless… I disagree. That allows the genes passed along to be enabled with memories, ideas, creativity and so on.

Parents talking with their older children about keeping an even temper, about how to treat people and how to make life better, also can have a deep impact on how they develop into adulthood. These things play out later in life… and when absent occasionally result in deep rooted problems for next-gen families… money and health problems are examples often of not listening to or having access to wise counsel.

Many of these conversations don’t happen today. It is reflected in many ways, and unfortunately may also be the cause of the dysfunction we are seeing in parts of our society today. Clearly people not being able to absorb change in our society and environment may also be those not having had good family passage of wisdom… or willingness to listen for wise counsel… or a willingness to look for it.

Recently I viewed a re-run of a movie with Robert De Niro and Anne Hatheway as the stars, called The Intern. At one stage he said in-character as Ben Whittaker “you are never wrong to do the right thing”… how could he know that, except that he had over forty years of experience in business. He was, by being the intern (in reverse), passing this wisdom on, to his “boss”. This is a great example of passing on wisdom to person who never had parenting or management because she started the business right out of college (à la Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs).
So, what do we do about this lack of wisdom hand-me-down thing? Honestly, I am not sure. 
I know in business there is the potential of using the “Intern” idea. I disagree with the use of 
‘consultants’ who are working with strategy … I was involved in some of that and failed in my
opinion, to be of great utility. But as a supporter of a young executive, perhaps I have had 
occasional experiences that were more successful. I think similar things can happen between 
youth and senior who would stand in occasionally for the missing grandparent. Similar to the
very successful Big Brother and Sister programs… only one extra generation beyond.

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Grad. Saint Mary's University, 1975, got into the medical device business initially in sales, then various management positions up to president, all in Medical Devices. I prefer therapy products over diagnostic, but they are all fun, and in a way have defined my life. I have now evolved, with help from my 35 year partner Lynnda with whom I now share every hour. I am into staying healthy, photography, kayaking, bicycling, gardening and two books a week. I wish I had gotten to this stage earlier!