Opinion: Power of knowledge

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The firstborn had recently entered a “transition to kindergarten” program, and while it was more emotional than expected to nudge him alone into the wide world, he seemed to enjoy and benefit from the social interaction with others of his own age. Good, because this was very much the reasoned intention. As an only child, it was sensible to worry that he’d miss that which only peers can teach. So, adjustments were made to accommodate pickups and deliveries. Deals were negotiated with other parents for carpooling. And thus, a new day in the life of both parent and child had begun. 

As soon became the ritual, each evening meal demanded some report on the happenings of the day. What was learned? Who told a good joke? How was lunch? As is appropriate with a newly minted 4-year-old, details were sparse, but eventually a story or two could be cajoled through intentional and persistent interrogation. To be sure, one could expect the odd account of the art project or time spent in gym. But the more interesting news would be in the form of quantifiable learning. New words, math concepts and increasing gradations of color could all be adroitly defined.

“Do you know what today is?” Imagining it to be some recently conceived holiday absent from our childhoods decades earlier, the answer was, “No, what is it?” The disgruntled scholar responded incredulously, “Well, it is Wednesday!” Thinking from the previous answer that he’d identified a significant gap in adult learning, he proceeded to inform that each day had its own name – and, to tell them. He’d gone from dependent to independent. He’d gone from pupil to professor. He’d gone from consumer to expert. No longer would the days pass unnoted; they would progress in his order from one to the next.  Knowledge is power. 


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