Knowing and Learning

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Several months ago I mentioned our thirty-five-year-old board book, God Made All the Colours. God really did make so many, many of them. Just think of the last time you tried to find something to go with a fuschia skirt or a red shirt or a pair of navy pants. Sometimes it seems that no two colors are alike.

We also know that God made all the plants. I went for a walk near our house one spring and found forty different kinds of wildflowers! Notice the differences in just these three I saw that day.

Eastern Red Columbine
Eastern Daisy Fleabane

God made lots of different kinds of birds, too. When I wrote about my fine, feathered window friends on Friday, I wondered what kind of birds they were. Very soon after the blog went out, I heard from two good friends who identified our nesters as Eastern Kingbirds. I was excited to learn from my avid bird-watching friend that they spend summers in Tennessee and winters in South American forests! My former nature camp-directing-friend told me that it is hard to catch them nesting. Isn’t that just the coolest thing? Tennessee to South America–world travelers right outside my window!

Isn’t it wonderful to have friends who know things you don’t know and who care enough to share their knowledge with you! I had looked these birds up in a list of 100 common Tennessee birds while I was writing the blog for Friday, but I didn’t find them. I looked back at the list last night, and sure enough, the Eastern Kingbird made the list of 100. My problem was that my bird’s belly was facing me and the bird on the list of 100 was facing the other way. My bird knowledge is so limited that I was stumped.

I think it’s important to teach our children how to handle things they don’t know. Have you ever spent much time with a know-it-all? That’s no fun! Have you spent time with people who don’t feel like they know anything? That’s no fun either!

Children (and we adults) need to feel confident about what we know. We need to know (and feel down deep) that we can learn. And, we need to respect the knowledge of others.

God made all kinds of people, too. Some know about birds. Some know about barnacles. Some know about brain surgery. Aren’t we glad that other people know things we don’t know? Aren’t we glad we don’t have to know it all?

May God give us the knowledge we need, the hunger to learn, and the humility to be taught.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:7


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