Friday, July 27, 2007

Growing more aware as time goes by.

Over the last year or so I've begun to occasionally have what feel like flashes of insight into the human condition. This never happened to me previously, and it suggests to me that for most of my life I was walking around fairly clueless about things. (Sad to say, that isn't at all hard to swallow, or any surprise to me.)

Let me give an example -

Earlier this week Nate told me a kid at camp was teasing him. I agonized for about a day trying to decide how to advise him about this. I was always the kid that was picked on in every class, camp, etc... that I attended when I was a kid, so I knew everything that DOESN'T work to defend against other kids, but I didn't know what DOES work. Well, after sleeping on it, I came up with a potential solution, and talked to Nate about it the next day. Whether or not my solution is effective I don't know yet, but that isn't the point of this post.

Point 1) I might have found a solution for Nate to try, something I never realized before. It's likely this 'solution' is obvious, and something I should have figured out when I was 6 years old.

I was thinking about the above this morning. Now, Nate didn't use the word 'teasing', or the phrase 'picking on me' when telling me about the other camper. Being 6 years old, Nate said the kid was calling him names. I introduced the other phrase and word to the discussion.

Extrapolating from this, I wonder if the words I introduced sounded like 'big words' or 'fancy words' to Nate, and maybe he was thinking that they were unneccessary. Fast-forward a little. As we grow older, our vocabulary expands. At various points in life, we may hear some people using 'big words' when perfectly ordinary words might be adequate.

Point 2) MAYBE these terms we think of as 'big words' are just a case of somebody else, with a more developed vocabulary, using words that aren't affectations by their standards. It might be that those speakers are just accustomed to those words and to them, the words are simply words. To the listener that isn't used to hearing the words, they sound pretentious. MAYBE some or most people, once they reach a certain age or level of intellectual growth, simply plateau. Others might keep growing and expanding their vocabulary, and then sound wordy to the others.

Just an idea.

This, led me to yet another insight.

Point 3) As I wrote above, I never really noticed these insights earlier in my life. I wonder if the insights are a consequence of having kids, or having a kid at Nate's level of maturity/education/whatever. Maybe if I'd had my kids in my 20's instead of my 30's, I'd have been less ignorant for the last ten years? If so, that's something nobody ever told me. Might have been nice to know.

And now I've got to get back to work.

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