Do You Have an Unforgiving Endeavor?

So I want to speak specifically to dads who do a lot of abstract work. You might be in management, you might be a pastor. There’s a lot of us. You might be any kind of teaching role. There’s a specific thing I want you to be careful of and this is something that I’ve had to really try to figure out on my own as well. That is that if you do not have in your life something, like an unforgiving endeavor that gives you feedback, that isn’t based on some expertise coming and telling you if you did a good job or a manager or somebody, a boss, then oftentimes you’re not living close to reality enough. This is kind of a blue collar, white collar problem.

In other words, people that have, plumbers and carpenters, they live in a world where they’re constantly getting real world feedback about shortcuts they’re taking that aren’t working and this actually makes them more wise. That’s the reason why there really isn’t a strong correlation between wisdom and intelligence, because oftentimes wisdom comes from participating in actions and endeavors that give you that real world feedback. My favorite example of this in all of literature is Samwise Gamgee. So he’s not the sharpest whatever tool in the shed in The Lord Of The Rings, but he comes out with these crazy wise sayings. He’s always wise in these movies and in his books. Tolkien is really describing kind of that blue collar wisdom, or just another way to think of it that I think is applicable to everyone is the wisdom the comes from doing these kinds of working in these unforgiving rigid places, where the feedback’s always real. It’s real time.

For me, that’s gardening. I know Jeff, you got into woodworking, but I really think it’s important you guys to try to do things and this could be a hobby. It doesn’t have to be your occupation, but sometimes people that live in an abstract world actually avoid doing these kinds of things. Because they’re really becoming more and more skilled and adept at manipulating sort of the abstract world in which they live. This could really do a number on your wisdom.

This could make you live in sort of an unreal world. I know this is kind of maybe sounds a little kind of abstract, but I’ve just noticed this problem. I really think the solution is fairly simple. You have to invest in things in which the feedback is always real. You’ll notice things about your character, where you’re taking those shortcuts inappropriately, where you’re giving yourself grace where you really need to be a little harder on yourself or vice versa, where you’re not taking time.

Where you’re not being patient, where you’re not being exact. These are things you learn in some of the trades that so many of us who live in abstract worlds, we just don’t get this kind of wisdom and this kind of wisdom cross applies to every other area of life. So it’s like one of those other nutrients that I think we all need to have in our diet, but yeah. Jeff, how have you thought about this?

Yeah. Well, I always think of Jesus’s parables and stuff like that. Where I feel like there’s something hilarious to the fact, like I don’t think it’s a modern ancient concept or dichotomy that back then is the reason he did a lot of illustrations with grain and seeds. I think that’s just like because those are timeless. I can’t think of any parables talking about a computer or a software. You know what I mean?

There is something so abstract about that stuff that is like our work. So I think, yeah, I agree. Especially for someone who does a lot of computer work, a lot of work in that, in an abstract domain, which is most people. The book Iron John makes the argument that that’s actually one of the biggest cons of the industrial revolution is it kind of disconnected our kids’ ability to even know what we do because it’s literally like they can’t compute it when they see you doing something. Pun intended.

So I think, yeah, I just think having something that kind of mitigates against that, resists that is just really helpful. Like you said, because there’s something about it where it’s so holistic. Gardening isn’t just gardening, but it’s a million different illustrations on life and growing and this and that. That’s really difficult to get into more abstract concepts. So I think finding that, pursuing that, and just kind of putting that into your cadence and learning that is not only good and therapeutic for you, but also then, like you said, kind of teaches wisdom at a different level.

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