The Receding Foundation of Knowledge

It seems that Aristotle was right.

Stephanie McBride
Publié le 6 décembre 2016

Our children need confidence to make their way in this world.

©TC Média Archives

I used to think that I knew everything. I thought that I was a witty, wise preteen—a belief that only got worse when I went full-fledged teenager. And you’d better believe that I thought that I was brilliant going into my twenties. Things have changed.

Since then, I’ve surpassed the age of 30—I’ve also had two children. If you asked me today how knowledgeable I am, I’d probably have a fairly good laugh. These days, I feel as if I know nothing. Despite all the wisdom you’d think a know-it-all teenager could have accumulated, you’d be wrong. It seems that Aristotle was onto something when he wrote the words “The more you know, the more you know you don't know.” The need to act as if I know what I’m doing has also disappeared…instead, I am the first to admit that I am floundering. But here’s the kicker—sometimes I wonder if perhaps my attitude in my twenties prevented me from adding to my immature knowledge base. I say this regretfully—my grandmother tried to teach me how to sew and knit, while my father was one of those types that could do everything from stone masonry to carpentry (he was a less reluctant teacher, as working alongside a teenager posed its own challenges). In his defense, he did try to teach me how to mow the lawn, but I somehow drove the tractor into the brook, which ended that effort (I also never had to mow the lawn, which presented a learning curve when we moved out here).

I look at my own children and see how my eldest is fierce and confident. These are good things—but there are already bits of my own witty resilience visible in him. So where’s the balance? Our children need confidence to make their way in this world, but they need to be just humble enough to be open to the selected teachings of others. When I consider these facts, it seems nothing sort of a miracle that my parents managed to navigate me to my independence.