I work in the Drug and Alcohol field. Specifically in prevention. Much of my job relates to education.
B.C. Canada is a leader in a new way of tackling the woes created by drug and alcohol abuse. Its name is Harm Reduction. Its premise is that of not warring with those who do drugs rather reaching out to them. Part of the main strategy is to bring information about what they are doing that they may not already have. I like this strategy. Ignorance does create problems. But I am no Oprah disciple. I do not concur with the Utopian mindset that pervades our Star Trek first-world arrogance, that if we are just educated enough we will see change and pace and gather like Who-villers and sing happy songs of harmony. But education is a good part of good decision making never-the-less.
I believe that we need to keep distinguishing between being educated and being wise. Wisdom does not come from a place of an open book. It comes from hard knocks, from loftier pursuits, and above all, from relationships. Yes, relationships help in our understanding of the world. Not all relationships can bring wisdom. But wisdom can often only be passed through relationship.
I can be smarter than a whip, but not wise. Wisdom is not an automatic friend of knowledge.
I can teach people that weed is bad for your brain, but it takes wisdom to know that the brain is important enough to take heed of warnings. I can teach that premarital sexual activity is risky, but it takes wisdom to know that sex is precious and costly.
This is why I love the reality of mentoring. Wisdom can be passed through mentoring, because then its not just about smarts, it becomes about wisdom. Wisdom will tell a girl that guys want to get sexually active not for relationship sake, but to just get off. Most importantly, wisdom will teach about the preciousness of a person. Self-esteem can be passed through relationship. Mentors can teach a young girl the value of being a woman, the value of a better life than sleeping with anyone who asks.
So I stand in front of classes doling out the knowledge I have about various drugs and about drinking, but I know to be truly self-empowered, it will take relationship connectedness to teach a person the value of a better life. Knowledge is a smaller part of prevention than we think.
I also believe that wisdom is God-originated. Isaiah speaks of knowing and acknowledging who God is (fearing) is the beginning of all wisdom. This is like prioritizing what is really important in life. The top is our Creator, then those whom the Creator deems as important according to his map of life.
My faith is not always on display so blatantly at work. I have what many would consider a secular job. But if you listen hard enough, I attempt towards pointing people towards wisdom above knowledge. I keep a humorous outlook on life to keep things real, and not so daunting. I hear a lot about how educated people need to become, and how this will fix our sorry state, but I disagree. Anyone int he counseling field will tell you, especially in the youth arena, that relationship is much more an effective means to change. This is because wisdom is found in these places. Love is the centre and hope for a better way is the launcher to freedom.