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Understanding

Confessions of a realistic pollyanna

An early post this week. Many things are going on this week, and I want to write now while I can. Otherwise my blog might not get done. Oh and just a reminder, if you want to ensure you never miss one of my posts, you can subscribe by just filling out the form at the end of this post.

A friend posted a 2 part quotation on Facebook this week. The first sentence was as follows. "You'll understand when your older." When we are young this is true. Adults always know better. We might rebel by trying to do things we are told we shouldn't. We soon learn though that the stove is indeed hot and we mustn't touch. Running with scissors is dangerous. It is our best interests to look both ways before we cross the street because one tonne cars going 50 kilometres an hour can do a lot of damage to a person. Yes, whether we like it or not, adults seem to know a lot.

Also when we are young, teachers know everything. What parent has not been frustrated when little Johnny or Mary comes home contradicting the parent because teacher says. Oh this unquestioning certainty of teacher's authority diminishes as the child grows, but for much of year one and two, teacher knows everything.

By about age 15, we are convinced we know everything. Our parents are wrong about everything. Our teachers have nothing left to teach us. We are certain we are invincible and are smarter than any generation that has gone before. The world's problems are all their fault; we are here to save the world. But by age 25, we slowly begin to realise we are fallible as well. We make mistakes. And maybe, just maybe, much to our horror, our parents might be right about a few things.

That brings me to the second part of my friend's Facebook post. It reads as follows. "I am older and I understand absolutely nothing." As we get older we get to know our own strengths but our weaknesses as well. I have come to realise that I will never fully understand totally how a rocket ship works. And I'm ok with that. Chances are the International Space Station folks won't be knocking on my door asking for help anytime soon. I've also come to realise that although I had a good education in school, I have not necessarily kept up with all of the new discoveries out there. When I went to school, Pluto was still a planet and the world had 4 billion people and not today's 7.5 billion. And yes I take courses and read books on theology (my field of expertise) to try to keep current, but truth be told my theological education is so last millennium. I constantly must strive to learn new things or I will be falling behind.

Alexander Pope, the 18th century English satirical poet said a little learning is a dangerous thing. The Facebook post that my friend made agrees with this thinking completely. When we are children, we know we don't know much, and so we look to parents and teachers to show us the way. When we are on the verge of young adulthood we think we know everything but that soon crumbles as we realise that is not quite true. And when we reach middle age, we fully understand that all we have is a little knowledge and even with that we have to struggle to keep that understanding relevant and useful. I guess from this we learn that we can't stop learning. Only by reading, studying, gaining more experience, can we continue to remain vibrant. Blessings

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