Knowledge (Letters to My Daughter) #atozchallenge
If you’re new, or have forgotten where I left off on my blog, then here is a re-cap (or intro): Back in April I
partiallyparticipated in a blogging challenge with a thousand other bloggers, to write a blog each day in April, with the subject corresponding to a letter of the alphabet.
My theme for this challenge was/is; “Letters to My Daughter”. She’s two now, and these blogs/letters will be compiled into a book at the end. Not a book I will publish, but a book that I hope will be read by my daughter Winslow. Whether she heeds any of my advice, is not really my goal. I ultimately want her to know how much I love her, and to give her some insight into who her father is (because life is fragile and short).
[Get caught up with A-J! The links are at the bottom of this page]
Hey there baby girl!
I hope you’re having a fabulous day! I love you sweetheart.
Okay, Knowledge… where to begin?
Organizing my thoughts on this subject of “Knowledge” is difficult, because there are so many topics I could discuss. Topics such as; the importance of knowledge, or the obtainment of knowledge, or the difference between knowledge and wisdom, or the determination of valid knowledge versus invalid knowledge or propaganda, or, or, or, or….
Let’s start with my own realizations about knowledge.
First, you should know (there is that word again) that I was not a good student growing up. I thought that sports, and my social interactions were what defined me. I did not learn well, nor did I try to learn. I was never excited to learn when I was younger, it was more of a chore. Nothing really excited me but sports and getting girls attention (Read: Boys, Boys, Boys). There were a few brief moments in my childhood when I realized I could learn and do well in school, but only if I REALLY liked the topic. I skated by doing the bare minimum as often as possible.
This pattern of rarely giving effort in school is one of my only regrets in life. I do not like regrets, because my experiences both good and bad have molded me into the person I am today. Yet, I do regret not trying harder in school, because I was doing myself a disservice and hindering my potential in life. It was not one decision, but it was continually deciding the same thing, which was the wrong thing.
It was foolish.
I was foolish.
Not being pushed to give school a greater importance in my life is something I wish now, that my parents attempted more often. Surprisingly, most of the things I wish my parents did, revolve around stricter guidelines, more rules, and less leeway. That probably doesn’t bode well for you, but in the long term, it will be something that helps you achieve whatever you want to achieve. My parents did get frustrated with me, because they felt I was smarter than my grades reflected. They made me take a few IQ tests, and while my results weren’t off the charts by any means, the tests did prove their theory correct.
I had brains, but I did very little with them.
It was not until college at Texas Tech (Wreck Em!) that I became fully aware of my ability to gain and understand the information I was being taught. I was gaining knowledge. Something clicked, and a switch was flipped as I became addicted to knowing more. I wanted to know more about everything. My favorite topics of research were human interactions, understanding the world philosophically, politics, (always) love, addiction, religions, business. To name just a few.
Part of my pursuit of knowledge was for pompous and arrogant reasons. I tend to not be foolish enough to speak about things I know very little about, so I attempted to know as much about everything as I could. I was foolish in wanting to appear intelligent. I was foolish in wanting to prove my intelligence through debating with friends and strangers. I was foolish in thinking that I knew more than I really did, and unfortunately that became apparent to those that DID know more than me. I had some great learning experiences, and some very humbling ones as well.
These experiences in college lead me to a simple understanding.
Knowledge was power.
Power is not necessarily a bad thing, because it can be used for good, not just evil. Knowing that knowledge was power, I certainly did not want to be powerless —that sounds awful. So, my simple understand lead to the realization that the obtainment of knowledge is of great importance, or at least, should be.
There are so many ways to gain knowledge. There are books, teachers, life experiences, and simple human interactions, or even Godly ones that help us understand more about this world.
The most important aspect of knowledge’s power, is the freedom it grants you. Freedom is so crucial to our souls. It can kill us slowly if taken, or it can be a strong wind behind the sails of prosperity. God knew we could not exist without freedom, because to be free is to be alive… to exist. So, He gave us freewill and made it the most obvious part of His salvation plan (to some), and the most perplexing part of His plan to the blind.
Let’s say you have an extremely important life decision to make between two choices. You know everything there is to know about “Option 1”, including the pro’s and con’s and most likely outcome if you choose it. “Option 2” is a completely different story. You know very little about “option 2”. You know so little in fact, that “option 2” scares you. Well, you are “free” to make whichever choice you desire… which do you choose?
Probably “option 1”, right? It’s the safe bet.
Without knowledge of “option 2”, and with the overflowing knowledge about “option 1” it would seem foolish to choose “option 2”. Yet… is that freedom at all? Your lack of knowledge about “option 2” forced you to choose “option 1”. So, was there even an option? A choice? Freedom?
What if “option 2” would have been overwhelmingly beneficial to your life and pursuit of happiness?
The pursuit of knowledge, power, and freedom will eventually be turned over to you (after your mom and I push you towards it for 20 or so years). You do not have to seek answers or understanding if you do not wish too, and you may not have questions to seek answers for, which is alright.
I have known people in my life that know very little about very much. Some of those people have been happier than you can imagine (ignorance is bliss). The majority of this small group have no idea that they know very little. They are in their own world, and interact within that world fine enough in most cases. Yet, their world is usually very small, repetitive, and mostly without adventure.
Yes, ignorance can be blissful, but it usually comes at a cost.
Even worse… ignorance can be dangerous.
Simply put; when you know little of how the world works and the people within it, those people and that big ole world will bite hard upon the weak
unknowingly. If there is an advantage to be had between two people, the one that knows more will take that advantage from the unknowing.
In my opinion, politicians are the worst offenders in using knowledge to take advantage of the blissfully ignorant. This same power grab, fueled by knowledge (when not by greed) happens in all aspects of life and within the most innocent of interactions. Business interactions, friendships, relationships, church small groups even. The list is entirely too long to continue.
I do not mean to condemn the world and those in it, but merely explain how it works. Knowledge can save you from heartbreaking mistakes, financial stress, emotional distress, and so many other self-inflicted disasters.
I’ve had to learn some of those lessons the hard way, and more knowledge would have softened those blows or allowed me to dodge them entirely.
My hope for you is that you are curious about people, the world, how things work, and everything in between. I then hope you seek answers for yourself.
Here are some tips that may help in your pursuit:
- Listen (more than talk) to what others say. Try to understand what they are saying and why they are saying it. But do not stop there! Try to understand the emotions they exhibit when speaking. Try to think more deeply about who that person is and what they might have been through to make them think, feel, and come to the conclusion they arrived upon. You can gain so much wisdom by practicing this art of listening. At the same time, you are giving the speaker respect and letting them know, you value them and they have worth.
- If you listen in this way, you will naturally be known as a great friend who is caring, loving, and selfless.
- It’s not a trick you are playing, but a way to deeply connect with others. You will find the more you learn about a person, the more you care for them.
- You will also learn more about yourself, and who you want to become.
- Observe the world, and the people in it. As I type this, in the year 2016, technology is destroying people’s opportunity to SEE. Sadly, so many people waste any spare moment gifted to them, by indulging their need to be entertained. Simply, people are not interacting with the physical world because they’re immersed in the digital world.
- Look up. Look at the beauty of this world, because their is much to learn about it. Look into the eyes of the person you are speaking with, and see beyond them.
- Never let something or someone control you in this way, because it takes away your freedom.
- Do not rely on authority figures as a presenter of facts. There were/are a lot of things that I used to believe because I was told and taught to believe them.
- Challenge yourself to search for answers yourself. If you are told something that seems unbelievable, then it might be for a reason.
- Never settle on agreeing with someone’s opinion without having your own solid reasoning or facts about the opined topic.
- Do not pretend to know something that you don’t know anything about. There is nothing wrong with not having the answer, but if you want the answer –Go Find It!
- Never use your knowledge to hurt others, because that shows that you have truly gained nothing for your efforts.
- If you use your knowledge for good, and learn when and how to apply that knowledge, then you will become WISE.
- Wisdom is the ultimate treasure in this world.
- Wisdom leads you to God, prosperity, love, personal success, and a life with an abundance of joy.
Learn well my sweet child and know that your mother and I will help you along the way. The choice will continually be yours to make, but I hope and pray you choose to seek answers, truth, and ultimately wisdom.
I love you!
H= Home Run!
J= Just Joking