Thursday, January 17, 2008

Confucius, Socrates, Twain and Internet Safety

"Learn what your kids already know or will know soon," is a suggested line from some literature that will be sent to parents prior to a presentation I will give in April. When it was sent to me, I suggested that what children know is nowhere near as important as what they don't know and what they need to know.

It brought to mind a saying I first heard in junior high from Lyla Filippe, my 9th grade English teacher, but that's a story I will cover in my other blog, Truth, Lies, Rumors and Rumbles. It has been found as a Persian apothegm, in Sanscrit, and in the writings of Confucius and Socrates.

He who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool.
Avoid him.
He who knows not and knows that he knows not is a student.
Teach him.
He who knows and knows not that he knows is asleep.
Wake him.
He who knows and knows that he knows is a wise man.
Follow him.

As I thought about it in relation to Internet Safety, a quote from Mark Twain came to mind. "When I was fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have him around. When I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years."

In examining today's youth in the light of these two quotes, it seems to me that from about preschool age, a child knows not and knows that he knows not. As a result we teach him, but in the teens when it comes to many things, a child knows not that he knows not. The proverb advises us to avoid him, but I'm sure the proverb is talking about adults who know not and know not that they know not. In any case we have to teach teen and do it in a way that they come to the realization that that we do know a thing or two before they reach the age of twenty-one.

The adults I present to are people who know not and know that they know not, and thus must be taught so that they can pass the learning on the youngsters who know that they know not and to the teens who think they know it all.

In most of my presentations, I tend to deal primarily with the know it all generation and their parents. In April, I will be adressing parents in two different venues that span the age groups. There's a lot of territory to cover and it will make for an interesting two days.

All of this leads me to the Zen paradox of "The more I know, the less I know."

Something to think about?

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