In this Proverb, the observation that we tend to be simple and foolish is made. It may seem to be a harsh thing to say, but it is up to prove the author wrong.
Proverbs 1:22: “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?”
Appealing to Our Lowest Values
One thing to remember with these proverbs is that the author is a king. Also, not just any king, but one of the greatest ever. Therefore, he probably saw more than his share of brown-nosers and yes-men. You also have to think that he saw a lot of corruption while walking his halls of power and riches.
Even with all of that, I think we can see how often an appeal to our simpler and basest instincts are successful. We all seem to prefer to be congratulated for our knowledge rather than embrace an opportunity to learn. How often is the genius considered a “bad guy” or at least a “nerd” in sitcoms and popular movies?
Breaking The Cycle
We can break the cycle of preferring to be right over learning something new. When a child lacks knowledge we should see questions as a positive. This approach can be difficult when kids are young and asking questions constantly. However, practicing patience and adding some good feedback can avoid a stigma with asking questions. When we point out how asking questions can erase ignorance and listening can reduce foolishness it builds a solid foundation. That foundation where knowledge is embraced is a key to the success of any child.
Swim Against the Current
Since the common approach is the simple and foolish one, children should be taught that there is not a wisdom in crowds. The decision of the majority is not always the best one. This is seen by kids in the school yard even at young ages. It is easier to join in on picking on others rather than stand up for the victims. However, most children agree that joining in is not the better approach. This is a good lesson to teach in any case, but avoiding joining the crowd can lead to wiser choices.
This is not the most optimistic proverb. Unfortunately, it is one we have to consider in the modern world. We have to think for ourselves, there is no easy route to true wisdom.