July 26, 2015
Reflecting on Wisdom
Wisdom is a characteristic trait that is incredibly valuable for the individual as he or she progresses through life. Often times it is assumed that wisdom is something gained as one grows older and has experienced life through its many stages. This is true, but age and experience do not always make each and every individual wise. There are particular characteristics that are evident in the individuals who are seen as wise. The following essay will share my experience of an individual in my life who had tremendous wisdom, and taught me so much, but not with words only through example. The wisest individual that I have ever had the luck of knowing was my grandfather. Unfortunately he passed away last year at the age of 89, but was and remains an individual that is irreplaceable for all that he offered in his lifetime.
Although a fixed definition for wisdom has not been officially recognized in the study of psychology, there is a general agreement regarding what wisdom looks like. The majority of experts have associated traits, such as insightfulness, open-mindedness, and increased expertise or experience as signs of wisdom. “Meeks and Jeste (2009) identified six subcomponents of wisdom that were included in several of the published definitions: prosocial attitudes/behaviors, social decision making/pragmatic knowledge of life, emotional homeostasis, reflection/self-understanding, value relativism/tolerance, and acknowledgment of and dealing effectively with uncertainty/ambiguity” (Jeste, D. V., Ardelt, M., Blazer, D., Kramer, H., Vaillant, G. & Meeks, T.W. 2010). It is within this context of wisdom that I am using my grandfather as an example of one of the wisest people I have met.
His ability to take on new projects well into his eighties allowed him to take his passion for visual arts into the technology era because of his desire to continue his growth on his hobbies. He was never willing to limit himself when a new invention or device entered to market. I remember that when the DVD players first came out he would be the first to go out and purchase it because of his need for experiencing the newest creations. Along with the tangible items, there was not one place in the world that he had not travelled to. Nearly everywhere he travelled he would try the food and customs of the native people of the land, like his trips to Africa where he danced with the villagers.
He was so wise for understanding that life was ever-changing and required adaptation for growth in order to fully appreciate the gift of all the great experiences that are possible. Every example of his life from the way he was with the grandchildren, to