So this is an actual conversation that took place with a bunch of 5th graders this week in the context of a class I teach called Menschology…
What if each of us actually knew a lot more about a lot of really important things than we actually give ourselves credit for. What if each of us knew more about life, about love, about the universe, about God, about the way the world should be than we ever imagined? What if each us wasn’t just a lot smarter than we realize, but a lot wiser? Well, I think we are. I think that each of us, every person in this room, is a carrier of deep, true, and enduring wisdom. And I think that we’re hip to some of our wisdom, but much of it is so deep within us that we’ve yet to fully encounter it and figure out what it means for how we travel through life. And that excites me.
At the same time, I wonder whether each of us also knows things and feels pretty certain about things that, upon closer inspection and scrutiny, we might find ourselves a little less sure and certain, a little less confident and right. I think that’s also the case. I think if we really investigate some of our beliefs and ideas, some of the known things of our lives, we might find ourselves in a place of unknowing and uncertainty.
How can it be that we don’t know what we really know, and don’t know what we think we know, all at the same time? How can we live this complex wisdom and walk the human path of knowing and unknowing.
As we prepare to recite the Barechu and Shema, let’s invite these prayers to help us navigate the sacred pathways of our knowing.