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Kind words to the graduates: The definition of wisdom

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When I thought about sharing words of wisdom to the 2023 graduates, I wanted to start with defining what “wisdom” is… According to Webster’s dictionary, “wisdom” is the quality of being wise, being informed, learning, and having knowledge. Delving deeper we find that “being wise” is having or showing good judgment. Now, “good judgment” means having the ability to come to an opinion. Finally, “knowledge” entails having a body of facts and the ability to distinguish right from wrong.

That’s a lot in one little word – “wisdom.” Gaining wisdom is a lifelong process and that journey begins with recognizing that gaining true wisdom is deeper than just learning what you’re taught and regurgitating facts. It requires truly and intently listening to others. Seeking truth in what you learn. It’s about considering the source and understanding the context of the “facts” that you find. It’s practical application of what you’ve learned which leads to introspection to find the truth within yourself.

I pray that whatever guide you choose to help lead you to wisdom, whether it be your parents, a family member, a trusted friend or God, that the wisdom you find in that journey leads you to joy. Joy is different from happiness because joy is internal and eternal. Happiness, though it is a great emotion, is external and fleeting. If you have true wisdom and joy in your life you will be successful in whatever you do.

One more piece of advice. In my lifetime I’ve learned to lean on solid words of wisdom and some of the best ones I can find are in the bible. Here is one of my favorites that helps me when I feel challenged and need a little direction in my thoughts to lead me to wisdom and joy. That is Phillipians 4:8 “…whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, fi there is any virtue and excellence, fi there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things – fix your mind on them.”

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-Lara Dedmon

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