Wisdom: She is Woman, She is the Walrus, She is a Tree

“Listen, my child, to what your father teaches you. Don’t neglect your mother’s teaching. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and clothe you with honor.” ~ Proverbs 1:8

I don’t think it’s a mere coincidence that while a Father talks indirectly of wisdom,“My son, pay attention to my wisdom; listen carefully to my wise counsel. Then you will learn to be discreet and will store up knowledge” (Proverbs 5:1-2), that Wisdom speaks directly to everyone — as Mother, woman, female — “Come home with me,” [Wisdom] urges the simple. To those without good judgment, she says, “Come, eat my food, and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave your foolish ways behind, and begin to live; learn how to be wise” (Proverbs 9:4-5).

In the blog, www.visionarywomanhood.com, contributing author, Kelly Crawford writes: “The teenage culture we created, dominated by peer dependency, has stinted the growth of society as a whole, creating a host of problems.”  Teenhood, and the culture that surrounds and sprouts from it, is a relatively new phenomenon.  Today we look at children entering teenhood as if they are incapable of having fun without being responsible. As if the idea of molding them into responsible young adults between the ages of 13 and 18 is either incomprehensible, or futile. A direct result of that mindset is that a large percentage of young people are incapable of thinking critically on their own, show a lack of respect for authority, and stay dependent on their parents emotionally and financially for far too long. They have no direction, they have no goals, and, in a society where working parents feel guilty for not being present with their children and gift them constantly, they have no wants.

We do a disservice to our “young adults” when we don’t see and develop their potential. All that knowledge, energy, and spirit has to be directed and channeled, so that they can become the persons we know they can be. And there is no better way to do so than being present with them as much as possible. It’s not easy. Life is hard and busy. Yet, Proverbs 13:20 clearly says, “He who walks with the wise will become wise; but a companion of fools suffers harm.”

With three grandsons who will all be teens within the next year or so, I am not unaware of my own responsibility as a grandmother to nurture and give guidance when the opportunity presents itself. We are all part of the proverbial village: Grandmothers, Mothers, and Aunts (as well as Grandfathers, Dads, and Uncles). We are the wise. If we don’t grace them with our presence and wisdom, our young adults will seek constant company with their peers, some who share similar family values and life goals, but many who may be part of the  “companion of fools,” who will cause them harm.

“Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it.” Proverbs 22:6

To read with our grandchildren, to take them out to a movie, to spend time with them at the beach, to walk and talk with them at the zoo — all these times are precious and.oh.so.necessary.

The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright —
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.
‘The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
‘To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing wax —
Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
And whether pigs have wings.’
~ extracted from “Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carroll

The nights are growing longer now, but, oh, the days grow shorter. In the autumn of my life I want the spring of their days to linger. For their spring days will end all too quickly, as the season often does, and the long, hot days of their summer, filled with trials and tribulations, will begin. I want to be ready. More importantly, I want them to be ready.

And, perhaps, one day — a long, long time from now — they will rest on our wisdom and know that our love made all the difference.

“I wish that I could give you something… but I have nothing left. I am an old stump. I am sorry.”

“I don’t need very much now,” said the boy, “just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired.”
“Well,” said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could. “Well, an old stump is a good  place for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.”

And the boy did.
And the tree was happy.

Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree

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