The thinking of an open-minded teenager. If ever there was one
|I like to think all of us come into this world as little programmable robots. Parents and teachers input food, love, and knowledge while we output poop, disobedience, and slacking grades during the growing stage. During most of that time we accept everything as it is and have no reason to question our IT support. But, eventually there is a point where one realizes that all is not what we were led to believe. I call that the "Day of Awakening".
My day came later than most of my buddies. Some were already telling me that Santa didn't exist in years I was receiving the best presents for which a kid could ask. My parents wouldn't conceive such an elaborate lie, I sincerely believed. What was in it for them? Then came the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy. Reason finally stepped in and I had to figure those two out. What in the world would a rabbit be doing hiding colored boiled eggs all over the yard? And for what purpose would anyone want with an old tooth?
Mom was never the one to get hard facts from when asking relevant questions about Santa, the bunny, and the fairy. Dad was the scientist in the family and finally came clean on the myths when I cornered him at the mature age of eight. The truth hurt, but I think more because I trusted everything my parents and teachers told me. When I asked him about this God stuff, he said, "But that's all true". I'm still researching that one.
Looking back, I can see this was the age where I started questioning everything and anything put before me. This was my "Day of Awakening". My forth grade teacher once reprimanded me in class for asking too many questions after that. She stopped recognizing me when I'd raise my hand. Someone would say it is cold outside and I'd ask, "What makes you think that?"
I've spent a good part of my young life questioning everything from religion to politics. Dad has always insisted that I keep an open mind on everything until I've had more time to experience life and look deeper into the subjects I have opinions on. I believe I've done well following that advice. Opinions are easy to form, but can I back them when cross-examined?
When I took American Government in my high school sophomore year, one day the teacher openly defined the difference between Republicans and Democrats. She said the difference was simple, "Historically, Republicans do not want change while Democrats do." At the time, I considered myself too young to understand party politics one way or the other, but I did know something about American history that year. I must have given a twenty minute speech before the class on changes made by Republicans throughout history. There was President Lincoln who initiated the Emancipation Proclamation and freed our country from slavery. That was a big change, I said. It was Republican sponsored legislation that amended the Constitution to give blacks and women the right to vote, repeal of the poll tax, and creation of the American Civil Rights act of 1964. Those were super big changes, I said. It was President Ronald Reagan who placed the first woman on the Supreme Court and George Bush who gave us Clarence Thomas, a black justice. Major and unpopular changes, I said. When I finished, the teacher accused me of sounding like a Republican. I replied by telling the class that the quoting of facts in a debate does not determine the political preference of a person. My classmates applauded me.
I am only seventeen as I put down these words. My dad guarantees that at the age of fifty six he has already forgotten more than I will probably ever know. He says proven knowledge is worth every penny you pay for but myths are strictly entertainment and not worth a red cent. From pills on TV that make you smarter to aliens visiting Earth, someone tries every day to convince me their word is truth. I warn them all; my "Day of Awakening" has already come.
Author's Note: I wrote this from the eyes of my son whom I observed closely as he grew up. He is well into his adult years now and still constantly drives me crazy questioning my opinions on subjects like illegal immigration to the way I comb my hair. I swear, if he ever decides to run for public office, I'll kill him.