Podcast: Wisdom

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Tova interviews Wellspring therapist, Lorena Cucalon to discuss wisdom, a virtue of positive psychology.

ON THE SHOW

Host: Tova Kreps, LCSW
wellspringmiami.org
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Guest: Lorena Cucalon, RMHC
wellspringmiami.org
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TRANSCRIPT

00:00                                     Welcome to wellspring on the air where professional Christian counselors share practical life and Bible insights. Why? Because hearts and minds matter. We're glad you joined our show today to hear from our host Tova Kreps, president of wellspring counseling in Miami. Tova is a licensed therapist with many years of experience as a Christian counselor. Tovah teaches, writes and consults and life. FM is pleased to have wellspring counseling, restoring hearts and minds in our community. Welcome to wellspring on the air. I'm Tova Cofounder and President of Wellspring Counseling and today's program is about wisdom. It's one of the positive psychology virtues and it's definitely a biblical virtue. And with me today for this show is Lorena Kuka Loney. She's one of our wells firm therapists. Hi. Hi, and thank you for having me here. Lorraina is one of our therapists who absolutely loves and has a lot of skillset and what's called positive psychology or you know what's positive psychology?

00:55                                     Well, actually my stand with positive psychology aids because they acknowledged suffering, but they also give a big why. Look at your strengths and the strengths that you have and happenings, happiness. They define habits not as these mere state of being good and happy and smiley face, but of fulfillment and accomplishment and progress in, you know, so that's why, and scripture is full of that. We're not just supposed to avoid sin. We're supposed to grow in the gifts that God's given us and to use them and to grow in that way. So, all right, so in this realm of the positive that we're going to build in our lives today, we are going to talk about wisdom. So stick with us on the show. You're going to learn a lot. You become more wise, God willing by listening to this show. I know I've learned a few things in studying to prepare for it.

01:43                                     So let's just start with what is wisdom aren't Loraina will give it a try. What is wisdom? Okay, wisdom. First I want to acknowledge what the Bible says. We were talking about that before. You know that the Bible says that eat is the fear of the Lord, right? That's the beginning of wisdom. So I'm not a theologian, but people have tried to define that as respect and different things that we have learned. Right? But actually I wanted to go a little more in depth of that. I think wisdom, the way do you acquired wisdom in this matter and biblical matter is when you have intimacy with God, it's not just reading. I know in the Bible is not just knowing about God and it's not just doing the right things, which is okay. All of those things are well together, but when you spend time with him and intimacy with him and just listening and just let him be God in that place where you're quiet, that's when you get something more than just fear of the Lord that Doug, we want to describe as respect.

02:43                                     It's more than that and that will let you know a little bit about his mercy. Forgiveness. He empowers you there and then when you are out, the wisdom is not remembered as not only to gain knowledge but to put that knowledge into your service and the wellbeing of others. So in that matter you will become wiser if you spend time there. I'm not saying that the other things are not good and the definition of respect is not the right one. I'm not saying that, but I'm saying that if you want to gain that real wisdom, the one that he can only provide so you by you being quiet is not something that you can do. It's something that you are going to receive. I think that it's funny, we both prepared for this and we went in different directions on that and I'm going to, I'm going to pull this piece in here because I think it's really interesting.

03:34                                     I also spent some time meditating on the fear of God as the beginning of wisdom. And so what does that mean? And I have a two year old grandson right now and you know with a two year old, the real, the basic task two is to learn to obey, right? It is really, it's, it's figuring out who's the boss. They're not the boss. Somebody else's mommy knows best daddy knows, you know, and as human parents we really don't always know best. And there are not great parents and there are wonderful parents, but God is the perfect parent. And so if we think about the fear that comes through obedience or the lack of obedience, then the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. So if I know that God is the boss and I get that straight because I have a little fear of him appropriately, he's the one in charge, then I begin to become wise.

04:24                                     In the same way that a little child begins to develop wisdom, they know what to do and what not to do. You don't ever master basic obedience for a two year old. You've destroyed them in life because they can't handle teachers, they can't handle bosses. They think the world revolves around them. They are unwise because it isn't truth. The world does not revolve around them. And so for us, when we obey God, because we're a little afraid of him because he's the boss, we get wise because then all the instructions, all the other instructions you give a gives us. We're like, okay, God knows best. So all those other things, including being intimate with him and spending time with him and including knowing his love and all those things come by as recognizing that God's got. Yes. And actually one of the things that I forgot to say before is that everything comes to you at the end.

05:17                                     That because you have to make the decision of going into that place or learning that word or following that instruction. We'll see. We're mentioning being obedient adults come, comes to you. It's your responsibility to go to that place and to learn and to follow. And that's correct. And so scripture as I studied in, you know the proverbs talking about wisdom and fools. So the fool is the opposite of the wise person. Right. And the, the core ingredient of the fool it's repeated is that they don't follow instruction. Exactly. They cannot be teachable. And so wisdom is to be teachable. It's to acquire knowledge, which is what you're saying, wisdom and knowledge. We acquire the, and then we acquire the judgment of how to use that knowledge. Exactly. To make quote wise decisions, to do these kinds of things to your benefit. And the benefit of others because one of the qualities of wisdom is that actually you are able to serve others with whatever it is that you have learned.

06:13                                     It's not just about yourself, it's, it's true. So we'll pull in a couple of other authorities on this way less important than the Bible, but let me just throw them out there just as long as we're still defining wisdom. They carte viewed wisdom as good judgment in everyday life and seeking knowledge and all things. That one is able. So again, we're seeing those two things. There's the knowledge and then there's the ability to apply it with good judgment in everyday life. So, and then we have Confucius, I'm going to throw him into that. He says that we learn wisdom by three methods. One is by reflection, which is noble. Another is by imitation, which is easy. And the third is my experience, which is better. Yes. I liked that when I was like, okay, you can learn it a lot of ways, but if we're smart, we're going to go the noble way, which is to acquire knowledge and to think about it.

07:03                                     I like our recitals. Who says that wisdom is the highest form of knowledge. But also he said that there is a term for practical wisdom, which is knowledge applicable. But with prudence he used the word prudence that the person who is wise Mosbey or you know, prudent person, they have to know when to apply the knowledge. And I have to say that the older I got and hopefully the wiser I get the less likely I am to actually share my knowledge unless it's asked for. I've learned that way. I search about prudence, the prudence of really until someone's asking until someone's ready. It's just okay to let it go. Just kind of let it go by. I think when I was younger I felt the need to kind of give what I thought it was not, you know, I'm being no at all. I think I might've been accused of, but now I realize that this, so I'm more prudent.

07:58                                     So I think that's progress. Yeah, I know. So one of the my favorite readings, because I do like to read a lot of philosophy. One of the philosophers first used to say that the more wiser you are, the humble you become because you know that you really do not know that you need to keep on growing knowledge in. And yes, he cannot expect everybody to desire that knowledge. And not everybody wants that knowledge either. And you have that knowledge for some reason somebody else has their knowledge for some reason, so, and the older you get, the less you know. Yes. And the less no at all. Yeah, completely. Yeah. It's absolutely true. True. Well under, in the world of positive psychology, wisdom is one of the virtues and under those virtues that have character traits, so looking at these character traits that fall under wisdom and knowledge.

08:46                                     One is creativity, one is curiosity, another is judgment, love of learning and perspective. So let's just kind of spend a little time on some of those right now. But just pick the first one. I bought creativity. Talk to me about creativity. Yeah, that's one of my favorite because actually creativity we think is still us to create, you know, like art, music, but not actually. It's to have original ideas like you know, how to solve problems, how to communicate or articulate or solve, solve somebody's problem. And that will be being creative and original. And that's exactly what a positive psychology define as being creative. Not just something that you create as a piece of art, but you know that you solve somebody's problem or, or a community to problem or, so go to my, the thinking outside the box, it's the creative person doesn't just take no, oh, it can't be done.

09:38                                     They're not rigid. This is the way it's always been done. So it can't be done. They think, well what do I do to solve this problem? Some, yes, it can't be done, but what about going this way or that way or another way. So that problem solving concept is to think outside the box. It is creativity. It is, yeah. It is. Having a wider vision of what's going on, not just one way of doing it or different ways of discovering and articulate things for the benefit of others to, you know, I had an interesting example of that recently in the world of counseling and in our counseling office there was a child who was stuck in a position of having to return to a home that was not safe and were very unsafe parents there. And so the question was, and it was interesting, the rigidity I found in other people like this has to be done, the law, the police, that this, that, that that's what has to be done.

10:33                                     And I find myself thinking, our God is not this small. He is just not this small. It is not, we have got to think outside of these parameters that have been placed here because how could it be true that that God would want us to place this child in this jeopardy. And so we all had to push for a creative solution that was outside the box. That's creativity. And the more we believe in a really big God, the more creative we can become. Complete to think outside of what the world tells us our limits are. Right? Yes, of course. That's a beautiful story because actually when you leave by faith, you have to have a greater vision. You can, you can not put God into your plans, right? It's not your play box. No, not at all. Because sometimes when, when I hear this new teachings that they say, you know, you have to ask God exactly for what you want and that I'm thinking if I ask like for exactly what I want, no, I wouldn't allow him to surprise me.

11:30                                     You know, I want him [inaudible] any figure than our thoughts. Exactly. All right. Let's do one more before our break. Let's talk about curiosity. Curiosity. Okay. Being curious, scientifically it, it's being done research that they think if a child is curious and that the lesson will be curious in a grownup, it will be curious as well and thought, but they say that it's to explore new ideas and keep on getting knowledge. They want to know how things work. Where do they go? How do we go from here to discover permanent leave? This is the essence of great teaching and where teaching to the test kind of stifles that curiosity cause you're saying, well what do I have to know to pass the test, to get the grade, to get the whatever. And that's very stifling to curiosity, which is the love of learning that the the, tell me more, show me this.

12:23                                     You know, this is the work. How can I create, you know, you know, and, and sometimes if we don't allow the kids or we done allowed ourselves to be bore, we are going to lack of that creativity and debt. Korea, we have to let our minds stop thinking. We have to let our kids be just a little bored. So they start wondering, I wonder how you, you know how I can get that ladder over to the other side? And then we get those cookies on the top shelf. What happens on the other side of the wall? Yeah, let's look curious about running into the street. But I'm like, no, curiosity is so important. I once upon a time I was a teacher. And one of the key things you learn if you're hopefully a good teacher is that that you can't start the lesson until you just created curiosity.

13:12                                     So you always start the lesson by something where they're challenged, like how does this work? Or whatever. So that you begged the question and as soon they're like, well wait, well how does that work? And once they're asking the curiosity question, then you can teach until you get them curious. Don't even bother. That's beautiful. Yeah, that's, that's excellent. Yeah. I even practiced this with my adult children now and I'll say, well, I have some thoughts about this. I don't know if you want to know him. And then they'll go, well, what is it? Whereas if I just given my thoughts, why did I have to wait until they ask you? All right, we're going to take a quick break. This has been great. This is Loraina and tow on wellspring on the air. And we're talking about wisdom today and we'll be right back after a short break.

13:54                                     And we will talk a little bit more about how to grow wise and some of the other aspects of wisdom. Wellspring now offers professional Christian counseling at six locations in Dade County. Therapists are now taking clients at two new locations, one at Crossbridge, Miami Springs and Kiva stain for more information, (786) 573-7010 or wellspring miami.org for more information. We'll welcome back. This is Tova and Loraina with wellspring on the air and today we are talking about wisdom, what it is, how to get it, what the Bible has to say and what even positive psychology has to say about wisdom. It is one of the six virtues of positive psychology and one of the virtues of scripture. If you miss this at the beginning, but you can find us on your favorite podcast, wellspring on the air and go back and listen at your leisure but otherwise stick with us.

14:45                                     So far we've been talking about wisdom is really both the acquisition of knowledge and good judgment on when and how to apply it. And that's both biblical and secular societies is all the same thing, which is great. And so we've been moving through some of the character traits that make up wisdom, creativity, curiosity, judgment, love of learning perspective, and open-mindedness. So again, if you missed the beginning so far, we've talked about creativity and curiosity. All right. Loraina let's jump in on judgment. What does judgment mean? Judgment. Judgment. It's the ability that you have to see things through and did not make the judgment of good and bad immediately, but use critical thinking before you give your opinion or make a decision. So the wise person doesn't jump to conclusions. No, no emotions. Emotions cannot be rigid when you're wise because you have to allow yourself to be flexible before making a decision.

15:41                                     So we have to notice that we have emotional responses to things like, I don't like that, or I think you're wrong because I don't like you. That's an emotional response instead of whether I like you or not. You could be right. Yeah. Let's listen and let's go through at Weiss person needs to know his or her emotions and they need to allow them go through their body and mind without any super reactionary immediately and then give any wise counsel or advice if it's being asked, like you were saying before, so having the judgment to look beyond our emotions, our feelings in the moment and to kind of take an abroad perspective, which we get to in a minute. Let's do that one next. Let's do perspective relates to judgment. I think it does, it does perspective is to see things through different mirrors instead of just one sided vision.

16:36                                     You have to dis this one characteristic. They, it needs your ability to have empathy with other people because you have to be able to be in their position as well. It's not something that it relates to you. I think this is a good place to to say that a wise person usually is not thinking about him or herself all the time because it has to have the wider perspective and the other person's perfected. Yes. Yeah. That empathy is so important. On wisdom, I have to s I cannot make a wise decision if I can't figure out their perspective. And that's true even of your enemy. A wise person knows the offense of the other team and it doesn't just play defense, you know, it's the ability to say well this is what they want or this is what their need or this is what they're trying to get at and this is what I want or need and what I'm trying to get at and how do we make a wise decision from the perspective of everybody involved.

17:34                                     So it's perspective. All right, well so we've got besides judgment and that is getting the emotions out. The wise person has the ability to kind of see it without all that emotional overtures and then there have perspective about the love of learning. Let's talk about learning Yaz. That's a person, the person who has these characteristic very develop. It's the one who needs to continue learning all the time. And it's a humble person because as you were saying before, you must be teachable. If you want to be wise to develop this critical thinking and judgment and perspective, you need to get knowledge and the only way to get knowledge is knowing that you did not know that you need to keep on learning. I need to keep on preparing yourself and, and not just for the sake of preparing yourself bad to improve your wellbeing and be able to pour that out into others so they will grow into a better person as well.

18:28                                     You know, you see that in some of the wisest professors who come in, they, they're the top of their field and I've watched this a couple of times, but top top of their field, all these credentials and all of this research and they'll come in and some new student is there who brings up something new and that professor's like, Oh tell me what you learned, tell me about that, show me this, show me that. And you realize like why are you asking questions when you already know all of this? And it's because the reason they're so wise and know so much is because they have this level of learning and they assume that a child can teach them that a new student can teach them something they haven't heard of. They they're curious about that new perspective from someone who's fresh and it's just a beautiful love of learning.

19:13                                     When I work with, because I do work with children and teachers and parents, I try to put a group together. When I work, I'm working with a child. What I tell the teachers, you know they are not doing these are Dadadada and you know, have you tried to develop the desire to learn instead of just teaching something because if they have the desire to learn, maybe they are not going to be an ace suiting in all subjects, but they will choose one that they will have this passion, this level of engagement and they want to pour out themselves into it. Even if they make a mess and it's okay, then you are creating, then you're developing that child a love of learning or if whatever you're pouring out into him, you know, his lab and then he will try to develop other lofts for learning others.

19:54                                     Right. And so you may not learn your subject, but if they love to learn, they'll learn something that is their subject. Exactly. And they will find their passion through it. And also I will tell the parents, if there's a parent out there listening, you know, allow your child to develop this love for learning. It's not just to homework and okay, so why does he like, what does she like to do in the afternoon? One theme that takes 15 minutes. So let's explore that. Put your hands there and touch and feel and listen and dance or whatever it is that, that child in my life and you know, just engage him and that love in and that will develop because we all have it and we need to keep it our whole lives where we're learning what my mentor Pat [inaudible], she's been on the radio but she's got next to her in her house.

20:40                                     She's got these baskets in every baskets filled with all these books and all these things. She's always going to a new seminar, learning a new thing, discovering something new. That love of learning is just a lifelong thing and it made, it doesn't make sense for days. It is. I've learned that also from one of my mentors as well. And I reasoned myself in every class that I, that it's related to my field that we cause I want really to improve. So I will be able to share something new with the people who are surrounding me and I am trying to teach my girls also at home all the time and I share with them. And so like creating them, they have different you know, passions in their life, but they do pursue their passions because of love of learning. All right, let's do that last one.

21:22                                     Open-Mindedness. Yes. That's a good one because usually that is misinterpreted. Having an open mind doesn't mean that you accept everything and did you want everything. It means that you have judgment and critical thinking and perspective. He's gone now. I miss him. But he's used to say, don't be so, so open-minded that your brains fall out. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Do it. Your brain doesn't need it. Yeah. It just means that you have a broad mind of you, that you're flexible, open to thoughts that you may not have had before. Yes. I've heard this, that, that I thought it was amazing. This is an exercise for you to not have an open mind. It says, you know, this, this professional that I really admire. He said, okay, I will encourage you to raise her into the Democratic Party newspaper and the Republican and you know, paper and read them both.

22:14                                     So your mind will expand and create what you're think you are supporting and your mind will develop this critical thinking and judgment and you will notice how you will change. And it's actually, that's so fascinating. I actually do that. My husband and I will flip between Fox and CNN. We flipped because you think we live in two different worlds. If you don't see the news from all the different perspectives, you have no idea what's really happening. We've gotten so biased, you know, so that, thank you for that encouragement. I feel really good. But yes, we need to be open minded to perspectives that might not be our own. But again, so what is open mindedness? Not well, it is not to accept everybody's thoughts and thinking. You didn't have to accept everybody's way of life. You didn't have to agree with that. Yes. And nobody needs to also agree with you.

23:03                                     That's correct. Yes. So it's not just one way. It's two ways. So that is not being open minded just to accept everything. Right. And we can agree to disagree and yeah, we, but we need to be open to at least hearing other people's perspectives and different ideas as well. We're getting closer to the end here. I've just talked, just kind of review a little bit. How do we get more wise than we've, we do it really by doing all these things working right on. Let's list them again. Creativity, curiosity, judgment, love of learning perspective and openmindedness. But do you have any other practical applications or rebel call applications to this swell biblical application? As I was saying at the beginning, it's a must to spend time God and read the Bible. There are two things that nobody can do for you. You can't go to church.

23:50                                     You can have the right friends so you can, yeah, but that's good too. That's another advice. Yeah. Yeah. You have to surround yourself. That will be the first one. Bible, you know, an intimacy will be for me, it's the first intimacy and the second one is the Bible. Without one or the other, I will not be me. And the second one will be surround yourself with wise people. You know, look at the people that you are surrounded by. It doesn't mean that you're going to judge the people that are surrounded, you know, was are you right now? No. It means that. Where are you going with your lies and people who's seen people consciously, consciously go into yourself and analyze yourself and ask yourself, you know, where are my, what am I doing with my time? Where are my resources are going? You know, I'm smiling and laughing about what, what are my money and my time means?

24:42                                     Those are wise decisions. And then you have to, if you don't write them down and you do not know what's going on with your own life, there's no way that you're going to become wiser. So it all starts with you with that decision of going in intimate with God. Take the Bible at hand and start searching in yourself, but also look at the people that are surrounding you because we become like the six people we spend the most time with. We do, we do. We come somewhere. Well, I a couple of closing thoughts than to I that on a psalm 107 43 says, let the one who is wise he these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord. That's the intimacy piece you're talking about. If we ponder the loving deeds of God, we will become wise. And then Matthew seven 24 Jesus is being therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

25:36                                     And that's that parable about building our house on the rock. And the message of that parable is not that we build on rock. The message is the person who builds on rock is the person who practices what they learn. So I think the two things, we got to acquire the knowledge and then we need to trust and obey the knowledge we get because as we put it into practice, we get wiser each time we practice the last thing and the little thing we get wiser in the next through experience, through that experience with a god that we're intimate with that teaches us all of these things. Any last words? Yes. And one thing that the Bible and the positive psychology agrees on is that the wiser is wealthy and honor. Yeah there the great promises are there but you knew who I, it's it to me it really, because I love to put in parallel both.

26:28                                     Plus it is icology and the Bible and both of them said the same thing and I thought okay this is awesome honor and wealth for both honor and wealth. And you know the other thing that our Bible says adds to that proverbs 24 five says that the wise prevail through great power and those who have knowledge muster their strengths. So we have honor, we have wealth and we have strength and power just by being wise. So it's worth the effort. It's exactly. Instead of looking for so many other ways that you know, nowadays, unfortunately there is so much information. Fortunately and unfortunately some people you just place things on the social media and people are trying to follow these thoughts and I'm thinking, okay, if you just get wiser that will give you that you know, you things in sires that you're really going for.

27:18Yeah. Power and wealth and, and, and you know, strengthen. And one of the you know, the thoughts of posted if call is that usually the wise person does not follow a wisdom because of the outcome. They just follow wisdom because of the sake of wisdom by day. Have that outcome of being honorable and wealthy as well. Yeah. We're just, we receive honor in life by doing the right things and we do the right things by being wise. So, all right, well it's time to wrap up. This is Tova and Lorraina with wellspring on the air because hearts and minds matter

PodcastAlexandra Delgado