COMMENTARY: The Search For Truth And Wisdom Is Not An Overnight Process


The Search For Truth And Wisdom Is Not An Overnight Process

By A Marie Williams, Ph.D.

As a lifelong educator, I have truly enjoyed the explosion of information and access to it through many channels.  This was especially exciting for me when I retired two years ago.  I have more time to read, more time to watch the news, more time to pray, and more time to engage in conversations with friends and family.

Recently, however, I am struggling to keep the joy in all of this.  News reports, social media, and many conversations overwhelm and frustrate me, mainly because they are so full of brief and shallow clips of information and everyone seems to be an “expert” on every topic.  I have tried to allow my passion for specific issues to drive my studies.  Most often, this just leads to more questions and a greater thirst for knowledge. This I enjoy, but I am really tired of the “experts.”

One of my serious concerns for our country is the great number of “experts” who have evolved and taken the stage on every topic from the elections, COVID 19, Afghanistan, to climate change and anything else that pops up.  Along with their “expertise” is an attitude that they deserve to know everything that is going on in the world at any moment.  And, of course, the news reporters, journalists, and social media users only make this worse.  My utmost concern is our national security.  I really don’t want to know what is behind our national intelligence services.  If I know, then for sure our enemies have that information. Do we really want that? Common sense about this seems to be rare.

Just a few days ago, I turned on the news, and one of my (formerly) favorite reporters was screaming protests and accusations about people being told to move away from airport entrances due to terrorist threats.  Just how did he know what was the best course of action? What happened to news reporters who just reported the facts?  There is no acknowledgment that others just might know more than he does, and maybe that is ok. Maybe that is even best.

I believe we all need to do a lot more listening than speaking – especially before we express our opinions, – and even before asking questions.  And how about refraining from judgment?  Or at least reserving judgment?

The search for truth and wisdom is not an overnight process.  We have a long way to be “united” in these States if we ever want peace in a country that values and practices democracy, let alone peace in the world. These beginning steps of listening, changing our expectations, and refraining from judgment might be a good start. Let’s add some reflective thinking, respectful dialogue, and begin to build trust.  Combine all of this with some serious prayer, and I believe we can change the world.

FOOTNOTE: Marie Williams is a retired school teacher, principal, and superintendent.