September 27, 2007

data, information, juggling, knowledge, and Wisdom

ADA gives out Wisdom Kids to diabetes newbies. The kits are cool, particularly good for kids. They are colorful, informally written, informative, uses juggling as a metaphor for diabetes care and even come with juggling balls and instructions. They are also good for parents who are so stressed from a diagnosis that they need to be talked to in small words.

It is a very good piece of work. If you don’t have one search Wisdom Kits at

Now this is a good thing because I could use a touch of wisdom. Families with type 1 juggle a lot. Much of what we juggle comes from measurements. As a family with two type 1 kids we take an awful lot of measurements. Each measurement creates a point of data, a blood glucose number, units of insulin, etcetera. So I get a ton of numbers - Data.

Our boy, Merriam Webster defines data as factual information used as a basis for reasoning. So a piece of data in and of itself isn’t much to write home about. Now if it gets used as a basis for reasoning that’s another matter.

I think we want more than data. We want information. So we compare insulin to carbs and calculate correction factors. Our pal Webster calls information knowledge obtained from investigation.

That’s more like it! Knowledge, Knowledge we want knowledge! The condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience.

I like that: knowing something with familiarity gained through experience. ‘Cause we D families gain a lot experience real fast.

I think there is even more. I think we want Wisdom. Again with the Webster’s, accumulated philosophical or scientific learning – the ability to discern inner qualities and relationships.

Isn’t it interesting that there is a relationship between the philosophical and scientific there in the definition? To me that says there is really more to it and maybe a little of both is needed. Science and philosophy are not mutually exclusive. Wisdom becomes the ability to apply what is true philosophically and/or scientifically to have a good life.

Wisdom: That what I want!

For starters it comes in kits.

Here is a little free knowledge obtained from investigation; put the good crystal in the cabinet before you start with the juggling. A few of the data balls you’re tossing around may go astray. The juggling is hard at first but it is learnable.

Like juggling I think the applying the accumulated learning to life is going to take some practice. Just like juggling, it takes practice to check blood before discipline for behavior. Come to think of it that may an early step in the path to wisdom.