Thursday, May 10, 2012

Struggling With My Views at Petsmart

You might remember that I recently posted about confident parenting.  We know our children, and we know what skills and knowledge would prove most useful to them.  We should celebrate successes and not worry about what others think.  Well . . . I still struggle with this. 

Yesterday, I stopped at Petsmart to buy dog food for Reno.  I was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt.  The T-shirt had on the front:  America 1776.  The cashier looked at me, and asked/said:  "1776.  Is that the date of the Army?  Or was it Navy?"  Even after I explained it meant the birth of our nation, she asked, "the flag?"  I reiterated, then tried not to act surprised when she explained to me that her major in college had nothing to do with history. 

Then I struggled with my feelings.  I do believe what I wrote in my confident parenting post, yet I found myself surprised that the English-speaking, college student/cashier did not know what I considered a fact of general knowledge.  I reminded myself that I have forgotten many facts in my lifetime, and I remembered all the nightmares I had after I received my college degree.  The dreams all had one recurring theme:  somehow I was a fraud, because I couldn't remember calculus.  Never mind the fact that I took calculus in high school.  According to my nightmares, if I don't remember how to work the problems now, I shouldn't have the college diploma (and probably not even the high school one, either.)

Anyway, it probably doesn't take a psycho-analyst to realize that I value education, yet struggle with defining what that means.  The good news, and what I constantly need to remind myself, is that each one of us has a lifetime to collect knowledge.  None of us will ever be able to learn everything that is available to us.  We get to pick and choose where our focus will be.  Even if we don't know something someone else considers a basic fact, that doesn't diminish what we do know.  And just as I would not want to be judged by someone who actually remembers calculus, I should not judge another person's lack of recollection of historical facts.  Do I want my children to understand and remember what 1776 means for this country?  Of course.  Is it the most important thing they will learn in their lifetime?  Of course not. 

I love seeing my children learn and work hard.  I smile along with them as they enjoy academic success, but their development of character traits such as determination, motivation, empathy, kindness, and love brings me even greater delight. 

So, to the cashier in Petsmart:  You showed curiosity, humility, and willingness to learn.  Note to self:  Until you have relearned calculus, and as long as the change is correct, don't worry about what a cashier may or may not know. 

Thankful thought:  Thanks for the time we have to learn. 

3 comments:

  1. I'm just going to imagine that her major in college is in Microbiology, with emphasis in molecular genetics! And we'll cut her some slack in the history department! lol

    Was the change correct? :o)

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  2. I love your thoughts on this and it reminds me to be a little more humble about judging others. Thanks.

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