Opinion: Discern when to learn


Touring the campus of a beloved alma mater with their soon-to-be-college-bound offspring, the doting parents did everything possible to convey their love for the place to their youngster.  She, in-hand, took it all in.  “There is where Mom and me first met,” Dad proudly proclaimed, pointing to the gazebo visible through the trees.  “Oh,” responded the daughter, now more attentive to the chirping phone in her hand than in the parental-sponsored tour down Memory Lane. Disappointed that the sales pitch was not going entirely as planned, Mom and Dad resigned themselves to the disinterested child. The next day would be the formal student-led campus tour for a group of potential enrollees.

As the time came, the daughter was sent along with the pack of teenagers guided by one of their own, not much older. The parents skipped it and went to lunch, certain there was no reason for more effort dedicated to the lost cause. Three hours later, the daughter reappeared filled with energy and entirely committed to attendance! What happened on this tour? She regaled her astonished parents with tales of trails, edifices and opportunities of great interest. These were things that she’d visited many times before – in fact, their phones were filled with pictures of them standing in the spot yesterday that she’d described as seeing for the first time just now. How could this be?

We process information as we need it. Knowing about her parents courting was not yet appealing, but keeping up with her peers was.  Eventually, the family history will matter, and the gaggle of teens won’t. Alas, often we don’t learn our lesson until too late. It must matter to us to get our attention. Until that moment, we think it can wait. Maybe, but too long, and it’s lost forever.


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