Have you ever suddenly woken up with a weird thought that’s in the form of a question? A question that defies all questions; like, is the earth really round, or why did man fly to the moon, or my favorite, who is the greatest athlete of all time? It happened to me this morning. A question popped into my head, waking me up from another great sports dream; a question that has no answer.
The question, ‘Do I have wisdom?’ Hmmm, why is a nine-year old kid thinking about if he has wisdom or not? Well, I’m not really sure why, but I find myself on another journey searching for the answer. If I know what wisdom is, I’ll know if I have it or not, I guess.
My journey begins as I look over at my toy chest in the far corner of my bedroom. I am certain they have the answer. They seem to know just about everything. I jump out of my bed, walk over to my toy chest, somewhat excited that I am about to get the answer I seek. Like a morning routine, I reach down to lift up the door to the chest and as soon as a slight crack of light enters the chest, they come storming out. One by one they fill my bedroom, looking game-ready as usual. It seems to me, that’s what I like about them.
“Good morning, Captain Does,” “morning Captain Does,” “good morning Captain,” they all start saying before I interrupt them. “Guys, guys,” I call out, eager to get to my question. “I get it, good morning to all of you,” I continued, abruptly trying to silence them. “I have a question,” I said, without pause, still eager to get the answer to my question.
“Quiet team, Captain Does has a question,” Cross Over calls out to the team. My room goes mysteriously silent and all eyes in the room are now on me. So, without delay I ask, “What is wisdom?” Their eyes suddenly leave me and they begin looking around my bedroom, as if they were looking for the answer too.
Did I ask the impossible question that has no answer?
All of them looking puzzled, eyes searching my room as if the answer was underneath my bed, or in my closet, or outside my bedroom window.
All of their eyes suddenly return back on me. A weird silence came over them before they blurt out one word, “KNOWLEDGE, Captain Does!” That’s it? I think to myself. Without saying another word, I leave my bedroom to go downstairs to the kitchen, still not understanding what wisdom is.
Entering the kitchen, I see my mother standing at the stove. She’s preparing my breakfast, I suppose. “Good morning, Dewey,” she says. I reply with my usual, “Hi, Mom.” Without any explanation, not even giving Mom an idea of what is on my mind I ask, “Mom, what is wisdom?” She stops, almost frozen like, and slowly turns to face me.
A cold, chilling look in her eyes. I was sitting in my usual chair at the kitchen table looking up at Mom. Mom had the same puzzling look as my friends upstairs did earlier. What’s with this word? Wisdom! It must be very complicated to cause people to act strange like this.
“Experience,” Mom says, with a gentle comforting voice, her puzzled look now gone. She slowly turns back, facing the stove to finish making breakfast. I quietly yell inside my head, THAT’S IT? Now I’m the one with the puzzling look.
I finish eating breakfast and gather my books for school. On my way toward the front door, I notice Grandpa Does watching the news on the living room television. I look over toward him, “Bye, Grandpa,” I call out to him. We make eye contact and at that moment, I don’t know why, I ask him the question, “Grandpa, what is wisdom?”
Our eyes lock in on each other as he clears his voice and without pause, he says “Life!” He didn’t even take his eyes off the television.
Hmmm, here comes that puzzling look again. Before Grandpa Does could say another word, I was out the front door and on my way to school.
School is going well. Why do school days seem so long, while game days go by so fast? I didn’t even have the answer for wisdom yet and here comes another mind-blowing question. I’m just not having a good day.
Anyway, the school day is almost over. Mrs. C is reviewing papers on her desk. As if I’m not already confused enough, I just had to ask. I raise my hand, “Mrs. C,” I say and she replies as her eyes slowly come off the papers on her desk. She recognized my voice, “Yes, Dewey?” Here it comes, “What is wisdom?”
That mysterious silence has now fallen over my classroom. All eyes, again, on me. Mrs. C, without pause says, “Common sense,” as she slowly returns to looking at the papers on her desk. My classmates, also without pause, return to what they were doing as if they all understood Mrs. C’s answer. No explanation. Not from my toy chest friends, not from Mom, Grandpa Does, or Mrs. C. Strange indeed, a question without an answer. But I was determined to find the answer.
School was finally over and I was excited to be going to basketball practice. Coach will set this right. I know I can count on him for the answer to my question, the answer I’ve been seeking all day long. I’ll just ask him the question and he will do his patent reply with his deep baritone voice. “Well, Dewey,” he will begin saying, which is how he starts out answering every question ever asked of him. “Well, Simon…,” “Well, Billy…,” “Well, Fran….” You get the point.
By now I was doing a slow jog, so excited I could probably go into a full sprint, but not in the school hallways because that wouldn’t be safe. I sped around the hallway corner stopping just in front of the school gym where Coach is standing. As if he was waiting there just for me. I stop right in front of him, still breathing a little hard as I look up at his tall frame. “Slow down, Dewey,” he says with his huge smile.
“Coach, may I ask you a question?”
“Sure, Dewey, what’s on your mind?”
I stare up at him as I slowly get my breathing under control. He looks down at me and our eyes connect. Here it comes, “Coach, what is wisdom?” The hallway goes silent. The faint sound of bouncing basketballs coming from the other side of the school gym doors. I felt this may take a moment so I gradually place my book bag down on the hallway floor.
“Practice!” he quickly replies, without pause. Not even his patented, “Well, Dewey…,” just one word, PRACTICE!
But this time I was not puzzled. I felt like a light turned on in my head. Wow, so that’s it, I thought with excitement in my eyes. That’s what wisdom is: practice! I get it!
Wisdom is practicing every day of my life, or as often as I can, to help me gain common sense from life experiences through sports and knowledge from school.
Interesting, I thought to myself. It only took me the whole day. I couldn’t help but feel, I have a long way to go to get wisdom.
By Thomas M. Kinslow