Whenever I can’t figure out how to use the latest technology, I find a twelve-year-old to tell me what to do. Yes, the world is a bit upside down. Children are teaching adults how to survive in the age of technology. It can cause us to believe that we have nothing to teach our grandchildren.
Maybe you don’t know how to play a video game and your smartphone makes you look stupid. Yes, your teenage granddaughter can film a video, edit it and post it on YouTube. She may soon be able to command a robot to make her bed. She understands technology, even if she can’t yet spell the word. But she doesn’t understand life. Not like you do. You know what love and encouragement can mean to someone. You have patience and the ability to pay attention, virtues that are necessary for success in an age where people look for distractions to distract them from their distractions. You know why one shouldn’t lie and why you should make your bed. You have survived a lot while she hasn’t even survived her teens!
There is a big difference between knowledge and wisdom. You have abundantly more wisdom than your grandchildren, even if you lack some technological know-how. You understand the deeper, more meaningful things of life: love, wisdom, courage, patience, long suffering, laughing, and crying. You are no longer a silly puppy chasing its tail.
Youth chase the new, the exciting, the eye-catching, and the famous. We did the same when we were puppies. But you can offer what the hottest singer and the coolest actor cannot; proven, tested, lasting, right, and true values. Wisdom still works when new and exciting fail.
Wisdom can be defined as the ability to discern what is most important, why it is important, and what it demands in response. Puppies don’t have that.
For Discussion: Why do you make your bed? What’s wrong with lying?
For Action: Read up on the definition of wisdom, knowledge, understanding, judgment and discernment. Eliminate the inane or weak definitions and make a good judgement on the differences between these words.
Mike Shaughnessy is the founder of Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club and lives in Lansing, Michigan. His book, The Strategic Grandparent, published by The Word Among Us press, will be released in May 2020.
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