Knowledge will set you free… Or will it?

Knowledge will make you free

Knowledge will make you free (Photo credit: tellatic)

There is a lot of talk about education right now and a lot of blame cast on the schools for not doing their job but I think it’s important to consider what the job of a school is. Most people would quickly agree that the job of the school is to impart knowledge. I read a very interesting article that talked about the difference between knowledge, wisdom, and insight and I had a bit of an a-ha! moment… if the following is true:

Knowledge VS Wisdom VS Insight

Knowledge is the accumulation of facts and data that you have learned about or experienced. It’s being aware of something, and  having information. Knowledge is really about facts and ideas that we acquire through study, research, investigation, observation, or experience.

Wisdom is the ability to discern and judge which aspects of that knowledge are true, right, lasting, and applicable to your life. It’s the ability to apply that knowledge to the greater scheme of life. It’s also deeper; knowing the meaning or reason; about knowing why something is, and what it means to your life.

Insight is the deepest level of knowing and the most meaningful to your life. Insight is a deeper and clearer perception of life, of knowledge, of wisdom. It’s grasping the underlying nature of knowledge, and the essence of wisdom. Insight is a truer understanding of your life and the bigger picture of how things intertwine.

via What Are the Differences Between Knowledge, Wisdom, and Insight? – Lifehack.

Then the job of the school is to present the student with facts and information and help them develop some research and investigation skills. That’s really all they are on the hook for. It’s our job as parents to teach values and impart wisdom. The gamer in me is going to come out here for a second… In Dungeons and Dragons Intelligence (knowledge) and Wisdom are the two primary character statistics related to intellect.  In application: a knowledgeable character knows a situation is dangerous and what type of danger is present. A wise character has a solid strategy based on experience to deal with that situation, and an insightful one knows how to either avoid it all together or benefit from the danger.

Anyways… I started thinking about parents I know and students I see where I work and it got me thinking about the fact that most parents rely on the school to teach everything and that simply isn’t reasonable. Knowledge is simply not enough to ensure success in life. you have to have the wisdom to apply that knowledge for it to do any good. That can only come from experience and our job as parents is to provide that. I do a lot with my kids. We play games, work out, talk, read, and travel together. I also try to expose then to the arts through film, theater, and music… and you can see when talking to my kids they are very bright. They figure stuff out quickly… That’s what it takes to be successful. and they do this because they have active involved parents.

My dad took me hunting and fishing. I spent time in the mountains, we sailed, played sports, and spent a lot of time talking… not him talking AT me but really talking TO me, and I think that is a big part of what made me successful. My parents owned my success and failure and viewed the school system as a tool… I’m not sure as a society we do that any more.

I have some BIG plans for my kids. Long backpacking trips, sailing around the world, volunteering, etc… BIG life events where you learn about yourself and where I can help them apply the knowledge they have gained to be not only wise, but wise, and god willing insightful.

Without slamming the public school system… I’m curious to hear what other people think about this and how they are helping to prepare their kids for life. I have not had time to fully develop my thought on this and am interested in the conversation so please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

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6 Responses to Knowledge will set you free… Or will it?

  1. Jeff says:

    Agreed. I gained some knowledge in school. I gained wisdom and insight through interacting with other people and the world around me. The goal of school (K-12 anyway) appears to have become almost exclusively focused on getting students to perform successfully on standardized achievement tests.

    The skill that we, as a society, seem to be lacking most in is critical thinking. I knew that the school system hadn’t progressed since I left so I relied on them for nothing in my children’s education. They had to go to school but it was up to my wife and I to TEACH them the things they needed to know. We joke about the fact that I only ever really taught them 3 things but my 3 rules sort of sum it all up –
    1) The secret to success is 5%. Just do 5% more or 5% better than those around you.
    2) If you do something stupid, you will get hurt
    3) If you’re gonna be dumb, you’d better be tough (ties into Rule 2)

    Darn it, now I need to do an article about the 3 rules. 😉

    • Brad says:

      I guess I din’t right anything here I did not already know… But I felt better putting it into binary. 🙂 My parents had the same three rules. Oddly I also remember hearing you will either leave here very smart or very strong also emphasizing the idea that they would MAKE stupidity painful.

      Seriously though… I’m starting to feel like “society” feels like the schools should teach kids everything including how to think I am would never want that. The schools on the other hand are forced into teaching to the test with No Child Left Behind reducing their capacity to perform their primary task. Society swings like a pendulum and I am sure it will eventually go the other way again, but I wonder why are parents angry with teachers when kids do not perform well? yes they are partially responsible, but the child is also responsible for learning and the parents need to be engaged and helpful as well. I just don’t see that happening.

  2. Greta Boris says:

    My kids are in college and they tell me that they are amazed at the lack of critical thinking skills they see in the students around them. Of course, they don’t say “critical thinking skills” but that’s what they’re talking about. I’m so glad that my husband and I had that same insight, that wisdom and knowledge are two different things.

  3. Very insightful post! I think many parents rely on the school system for too much. I believe that it is a vicious circle with many components. The fact that most families are working more hours to make ends meet and have less time at home, or on the other end of the spectrum…those who make a career of public assistance teach their kids how to use the public system. I am not smart enough to know how this can be repaired. I love that you are taking what your parents taught you and passing it on…more of us need to do so!

  4. Tammy says:

    The more we focus on isolated subjects like STEM, then we have the greater risk of losing our critical thinking skills. It’s a great issue and the fundamental building block of democracy.

  5. Tiffany says:

    This is great~ unless you think about the fact that the school isn’t really teaching the facts, either. They’re teaching standardized tests~ that’s all. They’re teaching for the high score so their budget isn’t cut.
    If you have a child that is different~ either too smart or not smart enough, then the school can’t help them. They don’t teach enough for the child ahead or they don’t have the resources to help your child that is falling behind. Again, it falls on the parent.
    If we have to teach wisdom and insight, AND the school isn’t helping them academically, why not just take the whole thing on yourself?
    Homeschool. 🙂

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