Today I am grateful for the folly of youth...

Today I am grateful for the folly of youth and the wisdom that comes with age. My youthful years were robust, to say the least. I

was a rebel at heart, and that was often reflected by my actions and my words. Like most young people, I felt invincible and believed myself to be infallible.

Argument was a blood sport. I learned it at the family table and fine-tuned it in debate competitions through high school and undergraduate classes. And I took great pride in my knowledge and skill. Looking back, though, I believe through the folly of youth my strong warrior spirit wounded at least as often as it defended. As I grew older, I discovered that my appetite for knowledge was superseded by a thirst for Wisdom. I longed for it, and searched for it in books and seminars and eventually embarked on a quest for what I considered to be an elusive prize. I still hadn't learned the true nature of Wisdom. I soon came to realize that Knowledge is not Wisdom. Knowledge can be acquired by anyone who wants it and is willing to engage in the process and work of learning.

Wisdom, is not just knowing. Wisdom involves the application of knowledge, tempered through the fires of experience and sharpened by the whetstone of sound judgment.

Will Rogers said, "Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment." And those words ring true.

We cannot become wise without experience, because those experiences teach us how to assess situations, to "judge" the possibilities as they relate to potential outcomes. The experiences of failure and success teach us in real life and real time to choose carefully...and wisely.

I've been blessed over the last few weeks by young people who have told me that they admire my "wisdom." Their kind words are gratifying and humbling. They let me know that my Quest has propelled me along a promising path, and that brings a sense of peace to these diminishing days that define the autumn of my life.

I am grateful to every individual and for every experience that created the person I am today. And to those who may have been hurt through the follies of my youth, I am doubly indebted and truly sorry.