The Wisdom Chronicle

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The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, Jim Whiddon

391. BIBLE IN SCHOOL Fisher Ames (1758–1808) was a Founding Father and a politician who helped formulate the Bill of Rights. Consider His perspective on the importance of reading God’s Word:

“We have a dangerous trend beginning to take place in our education. We’re starting to put more and more textbooks into our schools. . . . We’ve become accustomed of late of putting little books into the hands of children containing fables and moral lessons. . . .

We are spending less time in the classroom on the Bible, which should be the principal text of our schools. . . . The Bible states these great moral lessons better than any manmade book.”

Excerpt From: Lee, Richard. “In God We Still Trust: A 365-Day Devotional.”

392. BREVITY OF SPEECH “Mark Twain once told a story that illustrated why speakers should be brief: Mr. Twain said he attended a church when a missionary began to speak. At first Mr. Twain was fired up with enthusiasm for the missionary’s work and wanted to donate the $400 he had and borrow all he could to give to the missionary. However, the missionary kept talking, and the longer the missionary talked, the less enthusiastic Mr. Twain became — when the offering plate was finally passed around, Mr. Twain stole ten cents from it.”

Excerpt From: Bruce, David. “Mark Twain Anecdotes and Quotes.”

393. HIGHER ED GOLDEN AGE “From 1949 to 1979, the number of students more than quadrupled, the number of faculty nearly tripled, and institutions were established at a rate of almost one a week. But as the baby boom aged out of college in the 1980s, schools were forced to scramble for students even while governments began to cut funding. Meanwhile, policy makers had initiated an effort to transform higher education into a consumer market by funneling money to students (through grants and loans) rather than to institutions.

The effort worked. Higher education increasingly resembles any other business now. What pays is in; what doesn’t is under the gun. Instruction is regarded as a drain on resources. “Efficiency” in the transmission of knowledge, not the unscalable craft of teaching, has become the cardinal value. Professors are being replaced by adjuncts and other temporary, low-wage workers, the cost to educational quality be damned. Academic “units” (that is, departments) are seen as “revenue centers”; the ones that can’t pull their weight—much of the liberal arts—are slated for downsizing or outright elimination. Science is king, but not just any science; basic research is suffering, too. The holy grail is technology transfer: scientific investigation, often sponsored directly by corporations, that is capable of being parlayed into profit.”

Excerpt From: Deresiewicz, William. “Excellent Sheep.”

394. PEOPLE-PLEASING “ We are busy because we try to do too many things. We do too many things because we say yes to too many people. We say yes to all these people because we want them to like us and we fear their disapproval. It’s not wrong to be kind. In fact, it’s the mark of a Christian to be a servant. But people-pleasing is something else. Doing the cookie drive so you can love others is one thing. Doing the cookie drive so that others might love you is quite another. So much of our busyness comes down to meeting people’s expectations. You may have a reputation for being the nicest person in the world because the operating principle in your heart is to have a reputation for being the nicest person in the world.

Not only is that a manifestation of pride and therefore a sin; it also makes our lives miserable (living and dying by the approval of others), and it usually hurts those who are closest to us (who get what’s left over of our time and energy after we try to please everyone else). People often call it low self-esteem, but people-pleasing is actually a form of pride and narcissism.”

Excerpt From: DeYoung, Kevin. “Crazy Busy.”

395. COLLEGE ADMISSIONS “American higher education is more socioeconomically stratified today than at any time during the past three decades.

The major reason for the trend is clear. Not increasing tuition, though that is a factor, but the ever-growing cost of manufacturing children who are fit to compete in the college admissions game. The more hurdles there are, the more expensive it is to catapult your kid across them. Tutors, test prep, and other ways of rigging the system are only the end of the process. Wealthy families, by pouring resources into their educational development, start buying their children’s way into elite colleges almost from the moment they are born: music lessons, sports equipment, foreign travel (“enrichment” programs, to use the all-too-perfect word)—most important, of course, private school tuition or the costs of living in a place with top-tier public schools.”

Excerpt From: Deresiewicz, William. “Excellent Sheep.”

396. MARRIAGE “Clothes and company tell true tales about character. And who can estimate the importance of a right choice in marriage? It is a step which, according, to the old saying, “either makes a man or ruins him.” Your happiness in both lives may depend on it. Your wife must either help your soul or harm it. She will either fan the flame of Christianity in your heart, or throw cold water upon it, and make it burn low. She will either be, wings or handcuffs, an encouragement or an hindrance to your Christianity, according to her character.”

Excerpt From: J. C. Ryle. “Thoughts For Young Men.”

397. UNRETIREMENT “Seniors will recharge the nation’s entrepreneurial energy.

The potential economic payoff from society tapping into the abilities and knowledge of large numbers of people in their sixties and seventies is enormous. The economy will expand, household finances will improve, and fears of a penurious retirement will fade. Living standards will climb and the feared fiscal strain from entitlement spending will ease. The theme of intergenerational warfare will disappear as the shared interests between the generations in a jobcentric economy take center stage.

Older workers are to the first half of the twenty-first century what women were to the last half of the twentieth century. Welcome to unretirement, a revolution in the making.” Excerpt From: Farrell, Chris. “Unretirement.”

398. “Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.” — Helen Keller

399. “Storms make trees take deeper roots. — Claude McDonald

400. “Measure wealth not by the things you have, but by the things you have for which you would not take money.” — Anonymous

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