Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – April 4, 2004
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – April 4, 2004 – I know an extraordinary amount of useless information, most of which I learned in high school or university. Bits and pieces of data, that while interesting, serve no useful purpose at all.
I know that the Magna Carta was signed in 1215. The Battle of Hastings was fought in 1066. The Spanish Armada, also known as the Invincible Armada, was defeated in 1588. Napoleon, after returning to Paris from exile on Elbe was finally defeated in 1815.I know that John Wayne’s real name was Marion Michael Morrison and that Julius Caesar died on the Ides of March 44 B.C.
I know that an acre equals 4046.9 metres squared and that it was Shakespeare who said, “The quality of mercy is not is not strained, it falleth as a gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed – it blesseth him that gives and him that takes”. I can spell Mississippi backwards as quickly as forwards.
Not to say that these aren’t interesting facts, or that they might not sway things in my favour in a trivia contest, but there might have been things I could have learned during my years in formal education that would have been more beneficial. Going back to high school and university days, it would have been helpful to know how to design and write a really good resume. Tips on interviewing protocol would have been helpful. How about lessons on running a small business, balancing a cheque book and saving money. Think what would have happened, if at sixteen when I had my first summer job, I’d understood investing ten dollars a month and the significance of compounded interest.
What about life lessons in establishing healthy relationships with family, friends and lovers. There could be information available on having and rearing children, and I don’t mean all the excellent books on expecting your first child. I mean what parenthood is really like. What about buying homes, investment properties and establishing a stock portfolio? Then there is the importance of tolerance, compassion, kindness, love of animals, respect for other people and their cultures, a love of reading and learning, balancing work and play. I’m not talking about passing grade ten biology or grade twelve French – but about living in the real world.
I’m not involved in education, nor am I a critic of the process, but I think these practical aspects of living should be included, in varying degrees, in the undergraduate curriculum of our schools. There are a couple of interesting sayings that make me think this is true:
“Youth is wasted on the young.”
“We get too soon old and too late smart”.
If I’d “known then what I know now” – my life would be very different. Would I have missed the joys and sorrows of the lessons? Perhaps, but that might not be so bad. I have no desire to go back a single day in my life and I wouldn’t give up my life experiences in favour of firm thighs (although that might be tempting) … but a few practical guidelines in my teens and baby twenties would have been great. If you’re looking for a great way to help your nieces or nephews – why not make a fun game out of one life lesson , and pass on your accumulated wisdom and experience to a young person.
I know that’s what parents and teachers are for – but how often did you listen to your mom or dad? You never know how much valuable information you have at your finger tips until you start to think about all the things that come easily to you at forty or fifty, that completely baffled you at thirty. So be willing to share your knowledge. Now that I’m old and grumpy (sort of) it’s a real buzz for me to see “light” dawn in a younger person’s eyes!