Tuesday, September 18, 2012


When I say we aren’t teaching our young people enough I am not talking about schools or teachers. No, I am talking about you and me. I am talking about parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and employers. You should be teaching the young people around you every day. Teach them everything. Nothing is too trivial and you never know what little thing is going to be valuable to them in the years ahead. Neither can you ever guess what little tidbit is going to spark a young mind and send it in search of more information or a great discovery.
My youth skipped out on me decades ago but my memory is still good enough that I remember some of the many things that my father taught me but I also remember many things that he didn’t teach me. These words are not meant to be criticism of my father. Far from it! My father was a good man and his example gave me priceless knowledge but, like all of us, he didn’t realize the importance of passing on everything he knew. I think I learned most of it as time went by but it would have been an advantage for me if I had known it earlier. If he had explained to me about the various types of saws and how they cut or what makes a syphon work. Or if he had shown me how to figure interest or the ways to save money and make it earn more money. Perhaps he could have taught me how to listen when people talk and how what they didn’t say was often more important than what they said.
Now that I have been a father and an employer I can see that I have failed in the exact same ways that he did. I could have taught the young people in my life so many things but I thought that most of it was unimportant and that they wouldn’t be interested anyhow. From a position of hindsight, I can see how wrong I was. Nothing is truly unimportant. Everything should be passed on and let the recipient decide what is important and what is not. Also consider that if the recipient later decides that something was important after all, they already have the knowledge.
So go ahead, every chance you get explain to some young person what makes moonlight and the various phases of the moon. Show them how to splice a bandsaw blade and how to make a cup of tea. Tell them about the animals you knew when you were growing up and the first cars you rode in. If they show a spark of interest, elaborate on the subject and ask them to tell you their experiences.
Don’t criticize the school or the teachers unless you are doing your part. If I could do it over I would make it a priority to pass on all of the knowledge I possibly could. Every time I learned something new I would pass the knowledge on to a younger person. Unfortunately, I am now at the age where people look at me and automatically assume that I have some degree of senility and this causes them to have some doubt about anything I tell them. The best thing I can do now is direct them to a reliable source and I do that quite often. Whatever it takes to give them the knowledge is worth doing.

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