I was four years old in 1969 when Mom decided it was time for me to attend our local nursery school several mornings a week. In those days there was no pre-kindergarten, but nursery school served much the same purpose. I was apprehensive, like most of the little children meeting each other and our new teacher for the first time. But one happy memory stands out. Our teacher, Mrs. Bausman, would have us put on our “thinking cap” first thing every morning. It became a happy ritual as we all went through the motions of placing our invisible cap on our head and tying it under our little chin. Everyone wanted to don their “thinking cap” in that little nursery school class. I guess it made us feel just a little smarter and more prepared for our day.
Long before the days of invisible hats tied with invisible strings were the days of the dunce cap. This pointed, paper cap goes back more than a century in England, and you did not want to be invited to wear it in front of a classroom of giggling, pointing students. To be a “dunce” was to be dimwitted and slow to learn the teacher’s lessons, be they in math, grammar, or simple good manners.
Not surprisingly, the dunce cape has been seen for the cruel mockery it was, disappearing from the classroom long ago. Still, there will always be those who choose the fool’s path of unwise behavior, showing no desire to learn a good lesson. God doesn’t mince words when addressing one who needs to turn in a whole new direction to avoid the destruction that accompanies foolish behavior:
The mind of the intelligent and discerning seeks knowledge and eagerly inquires after it,
But the mouth of the [stubborn] fool feeds on foolishness. Proverbs 15:14
Foolish behavior is easy to see, no dunce cap required to draw attention to it! And if we’re honest, we’ve all done things we look back on as foolish. What distinguishes the wise from the foolish is the desire to learn from their mistakes, and from those who are wiser than they.
Do you want to live wisely? It is easier than you may think. Learn God’s Word, follow His advice, His warnings, and His commands with the eagerness of a young student. It will always be worth it.