I am not a very knowledgeable person. Now, before you start thinking, ‘Oh, she’s just putting herself down to be humble’, let me set you straight. I’m not. I have detailed knowledge about a very few things, and practically no knowledge about the rest of the world.
I can recite endless passages from nineteenth century literature, and know a great deal of trivia about the Young Talent Team. I’ve studied psychology, linguistics, symbolic logic, and theatre, and can make a novice familiar with Twitter within a minute and a half. And I could fill a book with what I know about marriage and motherhood, which is convenient, as I already have.
But what I don’t know about could fill the internet, and actually, it already does. The older I grow, the more ignorant I feel, as I realize how little I have ever learned.
I know that they say youth is wasted on the young, but in my case, I believe my education was wasted. “How is this going to help me in later life?” I’d constantly ask, not realizing that it was knowledge, not facts, that was important. I saw information as a kind of short term currency, to be stored in my brain just long enough to use for exams, and then discarded, never to be needed again.
For most of my life, my ignorance didn’t bother me at all. It didn’t worry me that I couldn’t place Algiers on a map, or name our first Prime Minister, or explain the chemical process of photosynthesis. It didn’t affect my work or my life, and besides, my husband could always fill in the gaps. He seems to absorb general knowledge in his sleep.
But then suddenly I turned around, and I had three kids of my own, and everything felt totally different. My twelve year old son is learning at a fearsome pace, and his knowledge threatens to surpass mine at any second. What’s more, his two younger sisters ask me questions every day, and I would love to be able to answer without resorting to the internet.
So I have set myself on a path of Self-Improvement. I’ve started by looking up things I don’t know, whenever it becomes apparent to me that I don’t know them. So when I hear “Shadow Minister for Defence” I Google his name. When I read about Oman, I search for its place on the map. When I see a banner saying Go The Sea Eagles! I ask someone what a ‘Sea Eagle’ is. (Apparently, it is a rugby team).
I know that I still have a long way to go, but at least I have started trying.
And for those of you who don’t know, photosynthesis is the process of converting carbon dioxide into sugars using the energy from the sun. I know it’s not as interesting as Young Talent Time trivia, but these days, it’s fascinating enough.
Twitter – http://twitter.com/KerriSackville