“Information is not knowledge.” Albert Einstein
I put that quote up on the board this week in my class and it started a tidal wave of thought that I was not quite ready to comprehend and it feels as if there is still some sorting out to do. This week has been a shift in so many things that I have been doing. It feels as if someone turned a switch and then sat down on the couch and refused to get back up to turn it on. So then there was me just sitting in the dark and having to make those decisions like: 1) should I walk over turn on the light 2) sit here and enjoy the dark 3) walk over and punch the person for turning the light off. This entry may take a while since I will be working some things out, so bare with me and it will hopefully make sense in the end.
The thing that started early in my week was I rode my bike to meet Emily and the boys at Alabama Outdoors to see if we could get the boys some summer shoes because they were having their “we are getting new stuff so we are going to mark down this overpriced stuff to what it should really cost so you will think you are getting a good deal” winter clearance sale and a funny thing happened when I was locking up my ride. A car pulled up really fast and a guy jumped out. Here is where it gets interesting. The guy that jumped out of the car was the 1st friend I made when I moved to Alabaster in 8th grade. He said what’s up, ran in, came back out and then said, “you were not who I thought you were.” Got in his car and left. Some backstory to this little interaction. I meet this guy almost 22 years ago and he and I have camped together, hung out together, and been best friends for a very long time. Then 2 years ago I was traveling cross country with my wife and my oldest Josiah, before Porter was even born, and decided to send this friend an email about how I felt about our relationship. I was not that nice about how I felt, but in my defense I had never really told him how I felt about his life decisions while he normally told me that I was doing some dumb stuff on a pretty regular basis. After talking to my wife and thinking about our argument I realized that I was able to take criticism and change and grow from it, which I have done most of my life because I tend to make lots of mistakes. What I realized about this friend is that he did not handle criticism in the same way. He did not like to hear negative things about himself and he decided to not be my friend anymore. This was sad for me for a while because he was closer than a brother, but I finally realized that I was never going to change him and that was that. So I moved on with my life. Well the interaction with him earlier in the week brought up many unresolved issues that I had with him. I know that our friendship is officially over because he actually unfriended me on facebook this week. I know that seems weird, but this was my best friend for 20 years, or at least I considered him my best friend. It is always interesting how life shows up at your door and how you greet it. The poem comes to mind “A road diverges down and I took the road less traveled”, sorry if that is not exact but you get the meaning. I chose the one less traveled and he chose the one more traveled and that has made all the difference.
The Einstein quote woke up Pandora’s box with me this week. It helped me understand that we live in a world where we have everything within a few keystrokes. We can access so much information within seconds, but what are we doing with it? I can reach out and talk to friends across the country and globe everyday if I wanted. The reach we have is amazing and I keep trying to comprehend all that it entails. Yet, we have a whole generation that just thinks this is how life is supposed to be and it seems they do not use this vast expanse of information to turn it into knowledge. Einstein wrote that in a time where you had to really work at obtaining just information, much less acquiring knowledge. It made me sad and happy all at the same time. It made me so happy for all that I use all this information to gain, but there is so much I am missing, that made me sad. It also made me sad the negative effect of instant gratification is having on the next few generations. They want everything right now and patience is not something they want to accept. My students will give me a one page essay and ask at the end of class if I have them graded. My fear is that most of us do not truly understand that information is just information. The ability to synthesize and manipulate that information is the key to this world in which we inhabit. Everybody and their mother has a blog, page, or some kind of way to push their thoughts out into the world(wink wink), but not everybody is saying that much. I am thankful for everyone that takes the time to read my thoughts so I am trying to not waste your valuable time. This world is, as every generation before has said and is always attributed to being old, going down the drain. But, I am trying to see if I can change the tide and maybe look at it in other terms. It is all perception and I am tired of people telling me how things are and will always be. That mindset will not be tolerated.
The title this week comes from my son and not me. Although I play in an over 30 men’s league, Josiah on Thursday looked at me and said, “I play soccer in 6 days”. Being a dad, coach, and player it warmed my heart to hear my son say that and see the excitement in his eyes. Josiah is about to enter the realm of organized sports. I have lots to say about this, but will save it for another entry.
Be aware that life is unpredictable and when you think you have figured it out I feel sorry for you. Everyday is a gift and I must grab it and shake it no matter what has happened and I still feel that it is not enough. Enjoy it all and eat good food along the way. Because you will wake up and it will be over. Take information and turn it into knowledge so we can win the war against the complacent.