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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STILL A FARM BOY

REFLECTIONS

by Steve Liddick

Most people who live in California come from somewhere else. That includes me. It is an automatic assumption that you are not from here.

It’s not like that where I actually do come from. I think most people who live in Perry County, Pennsylvania started out there and are still there—or not far away. I seem to be the exception.

Careers sometimes send you to places you would not have chosen on your own. The weather is often a factor that drives people south. Itchy feet is a common cause among the young.

When people ask me where I’m from, even though I have lived in a lot of places and been all over the world, it’s an easy answer; I claim a little green hunk of paradise among rolling Pennsylvania hills and sparkling streams. It has a rich history that goes back well before we were the United States of America—and has a population that appreciates it.

I’m sure many who still live there don’t see my ancestral home as I do. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. I looked over that fence in 1958 and set off for what I thought were greener pastures. In fact, it turned out to be many years of bumpy roads and stormy skies. It is true that times would not always have been ideal if I had stayed closer to my roots, but in all the other places I’ve lived, I never felt truly connected. If you are going to have troubles anyway, it is more comforting to suffer them among those you grew up with. They forgive you your shortcomings because they were standing right next to you when you acquired them.

Thomas Wolfe wrote that “You can’t go home again.” It’s true. Not because where you came from has changed. It is because you have changed.

Still, there will always be enough of Home that stays with you to keep you warm when life gets cold.

 

Books by Steve Liddick: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=steve+liddick

Steve LiddickAuthor of “All That Time,” “Old Heroes,” “Prime Time Crime,” “Sky Warriors,” “But First This Message: A Quirky Journey in Broadcasting,” “A Family Restaurant is No Place for Children,” “Campsite Gourmet: Fine Dining on the Trail and on the Road,” and “Eat Cheap: A Cookbook and Guide To Stretching Your Food Budget Dollars.”