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Lessons from an Owl
Photo: Edward Bartel
When we are young we seek wisdom, but for some odd reason we attribute wisdom only to the elderly. Can it be that we really don’t want the responsibility of wisdom when we’re young? Why is that? Probably because when we’re young we don’t yet wear the robe of experience that teaches us wisdom. Often we make quick, irrational decisions. Sometimes we spend the rest of our lives trying to forget it all.

What do you think of when you see the logo of an owl wearing glasses? Your public library! That graphic is associated with study, learning and wisdom. There’s an idiom, “wise as an owl” and undoubtedly that’s where someone got the idea of using the logo. The expression is used rather broadly as a term for someone who is really smart.

Owls are smart creatures. They possess excellent vision, too, in order to be about their nocturnal birds-of -prey habits. They tend to be very quiet, and they really must be in order to speed through the quiet of night, and not let their presence be known as they hunt. Yes, owls tend to be quiet and unassuming except when they hoot which is owl talk, with different species of owls possessing different hooting patterns. They are listeners more than talkers.

In fact, the poet Edward Hersey Richards once wrote a four-liner that describes an owl well, and sets a thought in place for us humans to emulate.

The Poet Wrote

“A wise old owl sat upon an oak;
the more he saw the less he spoke;
the less he spoke the more he heard;
why aren’t we like that wise old bird?”  

Now that’s smart! Though hooting is an owl’s overt form of communication between his own kind, his listening ability is the better part of his communication—and communication or lack thereof—makes for a contented or discontented existence.

The Message Bible tells us clearly the simplest way to become wise, “If you don’t know what you’re doing, (lacking wisdom) pray to the Father” (James 1:5).

When we listen, we learn so much about a person. The voice tells us of sadness, joy, or fear; The sound of a shriek may alert us to danger. If we hurry through life with only half-an-ear to the voice of others, we miss out on much by which to grow wise.

Further reading of the verse above tells us that the Father loves to help. He won’t make fun of us or tell us we’re dumb.

You can always ask an owl, but since we humans don’t know what hoots mean, isn’t it smarter to ask our heavenly Father?

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By Betty Kossick. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE ®.

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