Monday, September 27, 2010

All I Don’t Know

Part of this life we now lead is the almost daily confrontation of all we do not know. We both grew up in the suburbs, so there are things like cow and chicken care that neither of us learned as children. Those sorts of things do not much bother me. (It does bother me that things like this seem to be slipping from common knowledge.)

What embarrasses me is my complete ignorance when it comes to knots or plant identification or simple plumbing skills. We are learning, and I have gotten very good at admitting when I do not know how to do something that I really ought to know. Still- I ponder why we don’t know.

For my part, many of these skills were not valued. I guess no one in my immediate family ever needed to tie down lumber or tighten a clothesline. One of my grandfathers was handy, and he stepped in when there were small repairs that could not be ignored. I think repair people were called in otherwise. 

In my childhood, the intellect was definitely favored over these skills. From where I am now, looking back, I wonder if too much got neglected.

Don’t get me wrong- I love it when Ezra tells me in a dreamy way about the nature of time or black holes or when Phaedra is completely captivated by the travails of a period in history. There are just some other things I want for them.

I want to help them feel confident they can at least approach any problem whether it’s a flooding basement, a trigonometric equation, or a thin larder. I want them to know how to get the information they need when an electrical outlet quits working or there is too much milkweed or they’ve missed their flight. It’s good to walk into a kitchen and know how to set it to rights and then use it to warm bellies and hearts. I hope they all learn how to get a window to open or a door to close, because then they’ll never get stuck.

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