Outline: Wordsworth and the bible – wisdom – a divine quality – wisdom of childhood – wisdom of children analysed – conclusion.
The English Nature poet Wordsworth believed that children are truly wise, for they are very close to Nature and God. The Bible again tells us that wisdom comes out of the mouth of babes, that is-little children.
Wisdom is a divine quality that we usually associate with age. The older one grows, the wiser one supposed to be. But the wisdom of age is the wisdom gained from practical experience. It is the result of our observation of men and events, and also of painful personal experience. Men learn to be cautious and prudent as the consequence of the wisdom of age.
Very different from this, however, is the wisdom of childhood. Wordsworth says that Heaven lies about us in our infancy, but the shades of the prison house begin to close upon the growing boy. A child is simple and natural in its tastes and habits. It is free from the artificialities of civilized life. Children love to be out in the open air enjoying the sights and sounds in Nature.
Children also have the wisdom to appreciate the value of discipline. They know to respect those teachers and parents who can quietly but firmly enforce discipline. They are wise enough to know who has a genuine liking for them and who has not. They respond readily to affection and kindness, but they can be quite nasty to those who dislike them.
A child’s wisdom makes him have a strict sense of justice. Whether he is at home or at school, he does not like those who are unjust or partial to anyone. He is wise enough to be loyal to his friends. He is sincere and truthful in his attitude. Diplomacy and hypocrisy are unknown to his guileless nature.
As a child grows up, however, he comes in contact with undesirable influences and gradually loses the wisdom of childhood. As he grows more familiar with the civilized world he loses several of the child slowly but surely replaced by opportunism, greed, hypocrisy and artificiality. A child be it a boy or a girl goes through the very same transition from childhood to adolescence and adulthood as far as wisdom is concerned.