“Wise Silence”

“Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues. (Proverbs 17:28)”

When I was in sixth grade I learned a valuable lesson the hard way. One of my friends let loose with an expletive right as one of the teachers was walking by. It occurred after the dismissal bell for the school day and, for some strange reason, my warped mind thought that granted me permission to say something insulting to the teacher. I puffed up my 11-year-old chest and yelled, “What are you going to do about it, you ol’ bag?”

I remember the about-face she made and headed back to where my friend and I were standing. My bravado evaporated into the dry ground of the schoolyard as the steam engine came closer. She directed the two of us to go to the principal’s office and she led the way just in case we tried to take a detour. That was back in the days when principals had the feared board of torture called a paddle. A few minutes after entering our principal’s office we exited with our rear-ends on fire.

And I learned that fools, and foolish children, are still thought to be wise if they hold their tongues and remain silent. A valuable lesson that a few people these days could learn…as they sit quietly…and at least pretend to look wise.

Wise is usually shown to be residing by the brevity of a person’s comments, not the volume. The antithesis of a wise person is the individual who seems to be enamored at the sound of his own voice. Through the fog of his chatter foolishness swims around.

That spring afternoon in Williamstown, West Virginia, was the last time I ever entered the principal’s office. It didn’t mean that wisdom had come to roost within me yet, but stupidity didn’t seem to visit as often as it used to.

yellow swing

Photo by Kelly Lacy on Pexels.com

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