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Thursday, May 24, 2007

The smugness of fools destroys them...

'Wisdom builds her house, but folly tears hers down with her own hands.'
Proverbs 14:1

What makes a well-rounded person? I was discussing this question with my husband during a long drive. My dad, and my father-in-law are both, what I consider to be, well-rounded. Both men are self employed and as such they know all the ins and outs of small business management, marketing, advertising, finances, etc. Both know basic car maintenance and in addition, my dad can do a lot of major car repair. Both can do home repair such as plumbing, electric, painting, drywall, as well as basic landscaping and gardening. They are both published writers, and could be considered experts in their respective fields. I know I can ask either a question on a variety of topics and get a straight answer. However, I believe their's is a dying breed. Most people don't even want to learn these skills, they just want to spend money to make whatever problem they may have, go away. Doing things yourself is for the poor man unable to hire a landscaper, a pool boy or a plumber when the toilet keeps running. My father's knowledge is viewed as useless and he is seen as a relic because he can't list the top 25 iTunes downloads or the latest summer fashion trend for women. My children's grandfather's are role models. I will not have my son idolizing sport stars or celebrities who father numerous children to various women, drop thousands of dollars on clothes and grooming and who's only passion is things material. Today's "man" relies on a laundry list of hired specialists to tackle basic problems around the house while he memorizes sports stats, discusses Hollywood at the water cooler and reads the latest NY Times fiction bestseller (if he reads at all.) Seventy years ago, such men could not exist. If you couldn't or didn't fix something yourself, you went without. The same goes for women. Women in my family can cook, clean and raise children and I'm proud of that. My great-grandmother, Elma, lived in a home with her husband, his two sisters and his parents. Soon two children joined them and Elma took care of them all. She sewed and knitted all the kids clothes, baked all the bread, canned food etc. Today, women seek out a career, a good daycare for their children and boxes of instant food to pop in the microwave for them all. She hires a housekeeper, shops for the latest fashions and knows all the gossip at church, across town and from all the tabloids. And this is considered progress? Society would argue Elma was oppressed and overworked. But in a crisis I would take a hundred Elma's over a hundred dollars hands down. We need to reexamine the qualities we value in one another. Convenience and expediency should not replace old fashioned know how and hard work. The ability to gossip, sit all day at a desk and memorize pop trivia is worthless and yet we devote so much time and energy to such things. When we become well-read, well-rounded and self-reliant we are worth emulating. We gain knowledge to pass on and teach others; knowledge and experiences that in time become wisdom, an invaluable asset.
Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the open squares she raises her voice; Down the crowded ways she calls out, at the city gates she utters her words: "How long, you simple ones, will you love inanity, how long will you turn away at my reproof? Lo! I will pour out to you my spirit, I will acquaint you with my words. Because I called and you refused, I extended my hand and no one took notice; because you disdained all my counsel, and my reproof you ignored- I, in my turn, will laugh at your doom; I will mock when terror overtakes you; When terror comes upon you like a storm, and your doom approaches like a whirlwind; when distress and anguish befall you. Then they call me, but I answer not; they seek me, but find me not; because they hated knowledge and chose not the fear of the Lord; they ignored my counsel, they spurned all my reproof; and in their arrogance they preferred arrogance, and like fools they hated knowledge:Now they must eat the fruit of their own way and with their own devices be glutted. For the self-will of the simple kills them, the smugness of fools destroys them. But he who obeys me dwells in security, in peace, without fear of harm. Proverbs1:20-33