A book by Elizabeth Gilbert.
What are Wisdom and Intelligence: By an Average Jim
Author: James Kelley
Reviewed by Fran Lewis
Wisdom and intelligence definitely not interchangeable terms or words. Some say they have both while others search their entire lives to find the hidden meanings in these words hoping their lives will fulfill that of others and pass on their knowledge giving them a better future. James Kelley in his original and unique memoir of his life, states that, “ what are Wisdom and Intelligence?” This question and the many answers that can accompany it still haunt him today. Starting with a short introduction dedicated to his six children he explains the reasons behind writing this book and how he hopes his children find some answers, learn from his mistakes and become stronger and better adults. James Kelly has created a special memoir, history and priceless journey of the events of his life, which his children and family should embrace and cherish.
Intelligence can be defined as the capacity to acquire and apply knowledge whereas wisdom is said to be the accumulated knowledge that gives us the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting. In other words gives you as a person common sense and insight.
Intelligence is said to be the amount of information that is gathered in the human brain. Wisdom is said to be the intelligence that we gain in the process of learning from the mistakes that we make. As you read the story of this man’s life you will begin to understand how these definitions come into play. Beginning with where he was born, how his parents met and his early life you begin to get a real insight into his life and mind. Telling about how he came to be called James and who he was named after, the large family his mom came from the bond they formed just being brothers and sisters the author takes us back to a time when kids learned to play outside, be each other’s best pal and playmates and appreciate even the smallest toy or the littlest things they had. Explaining why his family was considered poor, not readily accepted by others and dealing with being picked on because they did not wear the most expensive clothes or dress like other kids, the author reminds parents and kids of some really basic social facts: Never judge a person by their outer appearance, their clothes or their wealth. Everyone is the same and everyone should be treated with respect. Followed by his early memories growing up and sharing more of his childhood experiences that you need to read for yourself. The pictures of James and his sisters are priceless and you can see and feel the love they had for each other just looking at them.
You do not need a college diploma to become a parent. You do not need a degree in order to teach your children morals and ethics that come from within you and them. Trying to recount to his own children his life, his past mistakes and his hope for their future is the primary reason he wrote this book. In every line, every word and every page you hear the author’s thoughts, words and feelings as he takes the reader on this journey we call life. From his life in Vegas, to the memories of his father, the love he still has for him and the respect he has for others there are many lessons that both adults and children can learn from reading his story.
The one that I really can identify with his deals with the bullies in his class and a teacher named Mr. Rodgers, who said it all, did it all and made him feel special. When two young men picked on James and made fun of him Mr. Rodgers turned the tables on them. As an educator I have to admire this man for what he did and the lessons he hoped he would teach both Michael and Randy. But, respect for others cannot be taught overnight and appreciating what you have is something parents hope they will impart on their children. No one should be made to feel less than who they are because they are not rich, brilliant or have a college education. My sister was one of the smartest people on this planet and she never went to college. There was nothing she could not do and I miss her everyday.
Life threw this author, father and husbands many different curve balls but somehow he managed to bounce back, rebound and come out standing on firm ground. The stories of his childhood are priceless. The lessons in this book that he hopes to impart to others and his own children are told from the heart, first hand experience and are more meaningful than you can know. Wisdom comes from the experiences you have throughout your life and what you learn from them. As the author relates his life in the country, Las Vegas and many other places you can hear the joy in his heart when he tells some of his stories and the agony and heartbreak of others. But, throughout this memoir you can feel his strength, his kindness, his understanding of human nature and his hope that his children and other children will learn the true meaning of respect, understanding and acceptance for others.
Friendships that he formed in Junior High School and toilet bowl story that you have to read for yourself on page 67 to understand the lengths his family went to in order to live and survive. As he puts it living like Pioneers was at times, his way of life. What his parents did to survive and how his family banded together is quite remarkable and amazing. Included our stories about his childhood, meeting friends in high school, the reasons he went into the Marines and the many missions he went on. Fort Ripley and some war stories that will interest the reader, followed by his first time on a ship going to Norway. The book is filled with many important memories, stories, incidents and remembrances of his life growing up, how these impacted him as an adult and how he changed as a person. The times his dad was rough on him, the mark it left on him will help explain why his reasons for writing this book, helping parents learn that violence is not the answer and the frustrations his father felt trying to bring up his children, find his own way in the world and much more.
In Chapter 26, In Retrospect the author reminds the reader about his past relationships, although many, his children, and the fact that he loves them all equally and unconditionally. Discussing each child’s birth individually, how he/she came into his life and the fact that some of the simple things in life is what makes you get through it all. His keen understanding of relationships and why you need to think them through first is insightful.
Music and drama made an impact on the author when he was younger. Being in plays in school helped boost his self-esteem. Relating this again in Chapter 26 brings the message home. Learn about his first romance in Chapter 27, his short trip to Korea for his 20th birthday, Susan, and the part she plays in his life, the thrill of having their first child and the other children that followed helps you understand why his children are so important to him and why he wrote this book even more. The relationships that worked out, the many places he visited as a Marine, his trip to Egypt and hoping to get home to see his father in the hospital allows the reader to understand why family is his world and how he still cared about his father even after all he had been through with him as a child and young adult.
His life in the Marines was quite exciting, getting jobs as a civilian, moving around a lot and living in many places left James learning many more of life’s lessons and how to deal with successful and unsuccessful situations. Truck driver, shuttle driver, trying to find his serenity in life and hoping to impart as much of it as possible to his family and to those reading this book. His son, Zachary seem to make him proud and center him as he relates how he finally became the parent he should have been all along. What happens next, his dad’s final tribute and more you need to read for yourself to learn how things finally came full circle in his life and where he is right now? Then, there is Robin, his muse, his life and the reason why he is who he is today. Learn about his relationship with her, his love for his children and how he honors and tells each one how he feels about them. Nickolas, Jason, Christopher, Zachery, Madison, Trenton and all of his precious grandchildren, family and friends, this book is for you and this review is dedicated to you from me and the love your father has for you. The author’s meaning of wisdom and intelligence: read it on page 428. The wisdom to write his story and share it with everyone and the intelligence and knowledge he imparts along the way.
This is a memoir that his family and friends will hold dear and love each and every time they read it.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
As the first person to have the honor or reviewing this book I would like to give it: FIVE GOLDEN STARS
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