Do you ever feel like an uneducated idiot? Staying at home for ten years raising kids, I noticed that my once large data base of knowledge has dwindled each year like newspaper subscriptions. There is less adult content between my ears and I find myself embarrassed sometimes.
Let me give you an example.
My little sister and I were sitting outside Sunday morning over coffee and the paper. My sis mentioned that there was a big earthquake in Tokyo and that our friends, The Shewfelts, were over there now. I reminded her that it was okay because they were going to Japan. After she stopped laughing at me, I faintly recalled that Tokyo is IN Japan. I went into Dopey Distress; feeling like my brains had been sucked out with all the breast milk years ago. Really! How could I forget that Tokyo is part of Japan?
I don’t know if I should take steps toward refueling my intellect with everyday knowledge that gives me the credibility of a college graduate. For the past two years, I have been working part-time in Fourth Grade. I can dive into a discussion of the California Missions and Early Rancheros of our state. I can hold a conference on how the rock cycle works; I understand the time zones and can explain how the Transcontinental Railroad started. However, at forty-one, I can’t recall that Tokyo is located in Japan.
I have heard that our brain is like a muscle, either we use it or loose it. My brain muscle reflects a lack of challenging stimulation and therefore this results in some loss. In my job in Fourth Grade, I am surrounded by ten year olds. I am only pushing my "mental muscle workout" a few notches higher than when I stayed at home with little ones. What I learned in physics and base ten mathematics in my twenties has fled and been replaced with Popsicle stick ornaments, multiplication tricks and understanding how to use a preposition.
I shouldn’t complain. There is more curiosity and simple joy inside a young, ten year old head, than most adults I come across. Many adults are stodgy and stuck in their ways, while the ten year old still naturally possesses “the beginner’s mind”. I crave the beginner’s mind, but it takes effort to stay in that place where we are open to anything and believe that everything is possible. Maybe it is okay to let geography slip out my head in exchange for a slower, child-like pace. I think I will lean toward my atrophied brain that keeps me young and simple, even if it means that Tokyo is in China.