Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ignorance & Wisdom

Ignorance & Wisdom

Yesterday morning I had a moment of inspiration. 

Ignorance: closing your mind to the possibility of error.

Wisdom: admitting fallibility and seeking to correct errors in thoughts and actions.

Monday, I was the substitute teacher in a third grade class.  We read a paragraph describing first person narrators and third person narrators.  As I listened to the students taking turns reading, I noticed an error.  

I asked if anyone noticed a problem with the paragraph.  Hands went up and ideas flowed.  Mostly they focused on the content which is what we normally do.  I asked them to just look at the words, not the meaning.  The word "narrator" was used four times.  Three times it was spelled one way and the fourth time it contained an extra letter.

I explained to them that this paper was written by a group of well trained and well paid (I hope) professionals trying to do their best.  It was also edited and checked by another group.  The misspelling somehow slipped through anyway. 

We all make mistakes.  Even people who are working hard and trying their best make mistakes.  It is counterproductive to refuse to consider that you could be wrong.  Some errors are small and relatively harmless like the misspelled word.  Others aren't so harmless.  Many of the problems I have right now stem from the fact that some people refuse to admit error or even the possibility of it.  

I wrote more but it just sounded preachy and self-righteous.  So, I deleted it.