Lily did something kind of clever the other day, and I asked her "How did you get so smart?"
She thought for a moment and said "Because I try very hard and go to school."
I was talking to my stepmother the other day and she had
mentioned a study she had read where it was concluded that being labeled
as "smart" can be detrimental at times, because kids tagged with this
label believe it is something inherent to them and they're frustrated
more than kids without the label when they fail. This is part of the
reason we fought so hard to get her into kindergarten this year.
(Spoilers, it didn't work). I want her to work and not just think that
she's smart enough to get by.
Lily's bus stop is a next to a little local cemetery, mostly
disused now and populated by veterans of the Spanish-American War. (And
that's one of those lines that sounds like a joke, but really isn't.
There are a bunch of military graves of local young men who died in
Jen was running late and with me working from home, I sometimes take
Lily to the bus stop solo. We spied some flowers through the fence and I
asked if she thought if they were real or fake. Lily replied, "I don't
know. Let's find out."
I was trying to say something like this in an earlier post. To me,
that's the essence of what I'm trying to give her. She doesn't know, but
she's not ashamed. Years ago, I read an interview from one of the
producers of "You Can't Do That on Television".
It was the Canadian show that gave us Alanis Morissette. When the
people on the show said "I don't know," green slime would drop down on
their head. In the interview, the producers said this was because, to a
kid, not knowing something is the worst thing that can happen to them.
When I was in college, after the 100-level courses, professors would
generally let us use cheat sheets with commonly used formulae on them,
as they figured we'd have access to that kind of information out in the
I like Lily's attitude, because now, moreso than ever, we have access
to a tremendous amount of information at our fingertips, and I'd rather
have her be inclined to spend a moment or two thinking about something,
investigating it or looking it up if she's not confident about her
answer. (Or I suppose, even if she is, because I think we make our most
egregious mistakes when we're sure we're right.)