THE LEARNING LADDER

REFLECTIONS

by Steve Liddick

 

I think we can all agree that until we were at least into our late 20s, early 30s, most of us—typically the male half of the human species—were not as mature as we should be. Some never got over it.

In our teen years we liked to think we knew everything. The fact was that we believed that everything we knew—was everything and our  parents were idiots.

It is beyond me how we could possibly have continued to have confidence that we are all-knowing if we kept making stupid decisions. That should have been recognized as evidence of how little experience we had to help make the right decisions.

The crossword puzzles are a good example. Even the smartest little kid can’t possibly do the New York Times crossword puzzle. They haven’t had enough experience or education to fill their brains with the information it takes to fill in a puzzle’s squares. It’s like that with everything else in our lives. Inputting data is what makes the difference.

If you were absent from elementary school the week your class learned how to do addition in their heads, there is a serious vacuum in your math education. You’ll be counting on your fingers for the rest of your life.

Missing links come in other forms, too—where you have to know one thing in order to learn the next higher level up the chain: the alphabet to make words, words to make sentences, sentences to make paragraphs—and then everything else you need to know.

I wonder if parents today read to their kids and get them interested in finding out about the world through books.

Mother Goose, the Brothers Grimm, and Dick, Jane, and Sally are critical links in the chain of knowledge. Although we can never hope to know everything, reading is a good start on learning what we need to know.

Of this I am absolutely certain.

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