Monday, July 27, 2009

Sorting out a lifetime!

Since my oldest son moved east last fall, he's bought a house and asked for some of the things he left behind here when he left. Textbooks, notebooks, furniture and the treadmill he left at his in-laws. We've been sorting things for weeks now on Dottie's days off to find them all, as they had taken residence in different closets and corners of the basement.

This weekend in the midst of yet another tote-full of notes and notebooks she called to figure out if he wanted all of them, or only the physics and astronomy texts, she called him. He decided he only wants the college physics and astronomy ones for now because "a lot of the physics I learned in high school was wrong"!

He went to one of the best science and academics schools in the state...

That sentence has given me pause in the two days since it was relayed when my wife hung up from talking to him. Pause because he's had to unlearn things that were wrong; erase the data and replace it; much harder than the initial learning, or it always has been for me. I usually remember, for now, the things that have been that way for me; it's another reason I always go back to "the book" for a torque on things even if I'm sure I remember it. The Navy taught me well there!

I'm also given pause knowing that he and his brother attended that school at a time of economic plenty; new books, smaller classes, new computers...the world was their oyster. Given that the State is slashing money right and left and the easiest target is always education, I fear for the things the kids there now will have to unlearn!

My grandmother, having spent much time on the reservations through her and Grandpa's 40 years "in the ministry" said she always thought the Cherokee had it right when they said that the result of every decision should be pondered not for it's immediate result but how it would affect those 7 generations from now.

Wisdom lost or wasted, I fear!

May the week be kind to each of you!



Chandira said...

A lot of the physics I learned was wrong too, I think just because they make radical discoveries every day!
Newton, Euclid, Einstein, it comes as a shock to realize such authorities are fundamentally wrong, or at best massively incomplete, even if 'only' on a quantum level, not the practical every day level.

robin andrea said...

My mother used to tell us, after she and my dad retired, that a lot of her senior citizens neighbors didn't like to pay taxes for education anymore. Their children were grown and gone, and they just didn't know why they should have to pay. My mother always said that it takes everyone's taxes to educate the next generation. That's what it means to live in community. As you mention, the Cherokee understood that, but nowadays it's a lost concept. Pity.

Green tea said...

Our Education system really needs a face lift.
Maybe they should look at other countries
My husband has 2 nephews and a niece
in Italy and when they came to visit they seemed very advanced.

Riot Kitty said...

I think it's criminal that education and human services always take the biggest hits. But then again, they're serving people who have the least influential political voices. It makes me mad.

zilla said...

Thinking and feeling and deciding for seven generations down the road ... we all should have started doing that more than seven generations ago, I think.

breathethenexhale said...

Your grandma was a wise woman.

Lim Sze Wei said...

it happens here in malaysia too. however, over here it's not at all related to the economic downturn. it's mostly due to political purposes.

pacificfemme said...

could you imagine a world in which the 7 generation philosophy guided all our decisions?

i am often saddened by the short-sightedness with which political decisions are made today...when will we learn?

Anji said...

I think that the cuts in education, health etc are worldwide at the moment. I wonder what life will be like in 7 generations time.

LucyTolliday said...

I have been taught poorly and incorrectly but it makes you appreciate the great ones and how under rewarded they are.
I do as well regret the short-termism especially given the long term damage in many areas it causes.

CrackerLilo said...

I understand where that would strike you. Maybe, though, what made the school good was that he was taught not just what to think, but how to think. He knows the difference between what to throw away and what to keep. So many people never learn that.

I understand the difficulty of erasing, overwriting, and starting again.

Hope you enjoy the freed-up space in your house, anyway!

chrissie said...

"every decision should be pondered not for it's immediate result "

Yes, Alan. Joined up thinking is about unintended consequences. But our politicans just seem to look at each little individual bite, and never work out the knock-on effects.

That's because they are assholes.


Ange said...

Each comment adds to the complexity of thought.

I use my education all the time. I'll never regret one minute of it, even though I'm still paying it off.
I agree with Lilo. How to think is the purpose, or maybe even...having the self confidence TO think, and not entirely rely upon the "expertise" of someone else.

Education is in need of an overhaul. It's scary, the budget cuts, but on the other hand, the human mind will not be held back. Lincoln read by firelight. We have Lincolns among us. Tomorrow's great minds will crave and appreciate the knowledge they've gained BECAUSE it was more difficult to come by.

I hope.

Calamity Jen said...

What a wise philosophy the Cherokee had! How sad that politicians can only think as far ahead as the next election.