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A word to the wise: Listen to the wise

What is wisdom?

Knowing information is knowledge. Being able to appropriately apply knowledge is wisdom.

Knowledge is knowing that a possum is a marsupial. Wisdom is knowing not to try to pick one up when it is cornered and angry. Yes, much of wisdom is what we would like to call “common sense.”

Wisdom is learned from listening, observing and making lots of mistakes. Based on the third, I should be very wise.

The biblical book of 1 Kings says King Solomon was the wisest man ever.

“I will give you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has never been anyone like you before and never will be again,” Yahweh says to the king in 1 Kings 3:12.

Solomon gave advice like: obey your parents, be careful who you hang out with, don’t pick fights, work hard and give God the fear and respect he deserves.

Siddhartha Gautama (a.k.a. the Buddha) said if you don’t love anyone you won’t have any worries.

Confucius said virtuous people bore everyone else.

Benjamin Franklin said, “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”

You decide for yourself what of that is really wise. I’m sure, like Franklin, we each know some people who are working hard. I don’t think that’s what Solomon meant.

Here’s some more “wisdom” for you, take it as you will.

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” — Yogi Berra.

“Never miss a good chance to shut up.” — Will Rogers.

“If everybody in this house lives where it’s God first, friends and family second and you third, we won’t ever have an argument.” — Jeff Foxworthy.

“Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

“My pain may be the reason for somebody’s laugh. But my laugh must never be the reason for somebody’s pain.” — Charlie Chaplin.

“Remember who you are, and whose you are.” — Sarah “Grammar” Campbell, my mother.

“Don’t light a firecracker in a fire ant bed. You can’t outrun angry flying fire ants.” — Brett Campbell.

Where do you go for wisdom? I go to trusted family and friends, to experts in the field, to records of the words spoken by the wisest of all. I can learn all I choose to learn.

But it only becomes wisdom when it’s consistently applied.

One last gem I share with you: “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.” — Mark Twain.

My work here is done.

News editor Brett Campbell can be reached at brett.campbell@dailyleader.com or 601-265-5307.