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Lead Photo Credit: Alex Shute via Unsplash

This month’s tenet states, “We seek after knowledge and wisdom.” We believe wisdom is the highest form of knowledge. Knowledge and wisdom are related, but different. This explanation on clarifies their relationship: The primary difference between the two words is that wisdom involves a healthy dose of perspective and the ability to make sound judgments about a subject while knowledge is simply knowing. Anyone can become knowledgeable about a subject by reading, researching, and memorizing facts. It’s wisdom, however, that requires more understanding and the ability to determine which facts are relevant in certain situations. Wisdom takes knowledge and applies it with discernment based on experience, evaluation, and lessons learned.

This wisdom, shared with me by people and other sources I consider accurate and wise, I call words from the wise. Derived from knowledge acquired and applied through life experiences, these wise words have been powerful and motivating in my search for wisdom. Here are some examples:

My family has more than its share of struggles with addiction. I grew up with a shortened version used by Alcoholics Anonymous of Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer prominently displayed in our home. It certainly qualifies as words from the wise:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

My husband’s parents, Rendell and Veone Hendrickson, lived lives of frugality, making do with what they had. They had gifted us with long-wearing socks we dubbed “the iron socks.” I told them they seemed awfully expensive when I went shopping for replacements. However, they taught me, “The least expensive isn’t always the cheapest.” Words from the wise.

From a class and teacher’s name I no longer recall, I often reflect on something taught: “The scale tells you how much you weigh, not how much you’re worth.” Words from the wise.

When I timidly asked my mother if we were poor during a downturn of our family business, she replied, “We are rich in love, blessings, and family, but at the moment we are a little short of money.” Words from the wise.

A beloved church and community leader in my youth taught this mantra: “Be where you oughta be when you oughta be there.” He and his wife not only taught these words from the wise, they lived them.

As newlyweds, another couple shared, “Never criticize one another publicly, even in jest.” Those are words from the wise that I’ve had to learn and relearn and come to value increasingly during over fifty years of marriage.

In a recent talk, a widower described an inscription on his wife’s grave that she had taught their children: “What matters most is what lasts longest.” For Big Ocean Women, faith, family, and motherhood are among things that matter most. Words from the wise.

Finally, a decoration in our home shares these encouraging words that are taught in various sacred writings and music: “Let your faith be bigger than your fear.” For me, those are words from The Most Wise–He who has all wisdom and perfect love. 

What words from the wise have directed your life’s path?