School Rules

My teenager, tackling chemistry, doesn’t follow my advice to get some assistance with all those equations. Instead, she cheerfully informs me her teacher did some of her homework. I just asked, she said, and he just went ahead and did them. To say the least, I’m stunned by her happy willingness to make do and glide through a class. The truth is, she cares little (well, possibly nothing) for chemistry, and while I may not either, my own student approach was decidedly more rule-bound – or dull.

Here it is again – this really interesting thing about parenting – seeing my daughter’s skill, from a fairly young age, at navigating the world with a deftness I lack. I’d describe it as Hemingway’s “shock-proof bullshit detector,” an uncanny way of slipping around what appears unimportant to her, with a self-regulating impunity. Nonetheless, I’m pleased to see her immersed in biology….

There’s another trouble with meaning. We’ve been taught to believe it comes near the end. As if the job of all those sentences were to ferry us along to the place where meaning is enacted… Why not begin where you already are?

– Verlyn Klinkenborg, Several Short Sentences About Writing

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