“Out of the mouth of babes,” is a proverbial and biblical idiom we use to express the unique and sometimes humorous wisdom of children.
Here are a few that have made the rounds for years by an unnamed author and source.
Patrick age 10: “Never trust a dog to watch your food.”
Michael age 14: “When your dad is mad and asks you, “Do I look stupid?” don’t answer him.”
Joel, age 10: “Don’t pick on your sister when she’s holding a baseball bat.”
Talya age 11: “When your mom is mad at your dad, don’t let her brush your hair.”
Armir age 9: “You can’t hide a piece of broccoli in your milk.”
Michael age14: “Never tell your mom her diet’s not working.”
Eileen, age 8: “Never try to baptize a cat.”
Apparently, these kids have gained these insights by experience, which is one way to obtain wisdom. Or as Harvard professor, Theodore Levitt, observed, “Experience comes from what we have done. Wisdom comes from what we have done badly.”
Of course, we don’t have to experience everything ourselves to gain wisdom. We can learn from “synthetic experience” as one behavioral psychologist termed it. That is, by observation and insight. We learn from the experiences of others.
People often fall into one of these three categories as expressed by this old proverb: “A wise man learns by the experience of others. An ordinary man learns by his own experience. A fool learns by nobody’s experience.”
It’s often been observed that wisdom is different from knowledge. One may be highly educated and possess factual information about many subjects, yet lack the wisdom to properly apply their knowledge. Wisdom goes beyond knowledge. Wisdom involves sharp perception, keen insight, careful discernment, and good judgment.
No wonder the book of Proverbs exalts, extols, and promotes wisdom to its readers.
Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.
Exalt her, and she will promote you;
She will bring you honor, when you embrace her.
She will place on your head an ornament of grace;
A crown of glory she will deliver to you.”
Of course, there are basically two kinds of wisdom: the wisdom of the world and the wisdom of God. It’s a sharp contrast between human and divine. Carnal and spiritual. Secular and sacred.
As Paul pointed out in the Corinthian letter, human erudition often scoffs and scorns the wisdom of God. Worldly wisdom denies God’s existence, belittles the Bible, regulates Jesus to a mere man, and ridicules religion as “the opium of the people,” as Karl Marx famously opined.
A. W. Tozer was right when he wrote, “The whole history of the world is discovered to be but a contest between the wisdom of God and the cunning of Satan and fallen men.” Tozer then correctly added, “The outcome of the contest is not in doubt.”
The “wisdom of God” is revealed in His Word. We can read about it. Learn it. Pray for it. Get it. Walk in it. And apply it to our lives.
When our value system, world view, and life’s priorities are founded on and directed by “the wisdom from above,” we can live here below with greater confidence, deeper insight, uncompromising courage, and the blessed assurance of eternal life.
You don’t need a Ph.D. from Harvard to obtain wisdom. As one sage said, “You don’t have to be listed in ‘Who’s Who’ to know what’s what.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman