Knowledge – and wisdom. Sometimes we have all we need of one, but not enough of the other. And often, too often, we don’t know the difference. Often, too often, we mistake knowledge, the accumulation of facts, for wisdom, the ability to make the right choices in life.
To succeed as individuals, and as a nation, we need to know how to put what we know to proper use. Perhaps this is why our system of education so often fails. Children are fed facts, lots of facts, without being shown the use of those facts. That can lead to a gain in knowledge without any gain in wisdom, or it can lead nowhere at all as the student turns away from what he or she perceives as busy work designed to fill the mind with useless facts.
Often, too often, students are told they must learn something without being told why, without being guided toward the wisdom they will need to put to proper use the facts they are given. Or they are told they must learn something to pass an examination. A passing grade is held up as the ultimate goal, and that’s not good.
What should be held up as the ultimate goal is both knowledge and wisdom gained in school that can be put to good use in life. When the student sees that this fact, or that bit of information, can have real value somewhere besides on an examination, that student will want to learn. And that student will have a higher score on any examination. Knowledge – and wisdom. One needs the other, and we all need both.