Will we ever learn? (Humanity… we’re a lot like toddlers.)

I catch myself getting exasperated with my children sometimes when they don’t know things I know. Case in point: If you hide your dirty clothes instead of putting them in the hamper to be washed, you will get up one morning and have nothing to wear. “When will they learn?” I think, as I pull wads of socks and pants from under beds before realizing, oh, that’s right — now is when they’ll learn.

I may have found out the hard way as a youngster that sneaking a jumbo bag of candy makes me sick, but my children won’t believe it until they’ve done it. They also have to figure out for themselves that putting off projects to the last minute doesn’t pay off, that manners matter, that you’ll almost always regret cutting your own hair in the mirror with kitchen scissors. It drives me nuts, but that’s how it works: Children repeat our mistakes, because they aren’t born with their parents’ formative experiences baked into their brains.

I’ve been thinking about this as I read the news lately. Just as our children don’t come into the world knowing everything we know, humanity doesn’t always move forward with the lessons of the past intact. . . (Read the rest at The Washington Post.)

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13 comments

  1. Interesting read. I was struck by the line, ‘let go of this reckless belief that we know better than everyone who came before.’ By the sciences and philosophies in general we believe that. But something convicts a little deeper in our own experiences and mortality where mystery and infancy of time still engages all of us.

    Teaching how to care is the hardest thing to teach. Not everyone will get it nor want this thing of learning. Sometimes we are all in different stages walking together. But one thing is for sure, learning to listen – past/present/future denotes the expansion of choices. Great article.

  2. Yep… Truth. I will say though, that there are the wise few that try to use the experiences of others (either seen in real time or recorded in books) as warning signs of what to avoid.

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