My dad became a widower at the age of 88. It forced him, for the first time in his long life, to make his own meals. One of the first calls for help I got from him was the question How do I make hard boiled eggs?
Such a simple thing, but he didn’t have a clue. And at his age he had no computer so it wasn’t something he could search for online. So he asked me. I showed him how. I explained the process as I showed him, and I wrote it down for him so he had a reference because at age 88, he didn’t always remember things.
Like all simple things, it was only simple for him when he had the knowledge.
This past year how to obtain knowledge has been a huge topic.
With schools closed from K through college, parents were being asked to be teachers. Kids were being forced to teach themselves. There was no single source for parents or kids to turn to for the help they needed.
I know children who haven’t learned at all this past year. Research reported in May, 2021 indicates that more than a third of students will need to repeat a grade due to the ways education was handled during the Covid pandemic.
I know parents who are frustrated to the point of despair about what to do, what their schools are doing (or more appropriately, what their schools are not doing). Emotional and mental well-being are being impacted by it.
Remote learning rarely worked. Students in rural areas had few options, if any, for reliable internet service because there weren’t providers. Students in poor urban areas often had no access to internet services due to no means to pay for it. Connections were often unreliable.
All the while everyone looked to governments, at any and all levels, for guidance that never came.
Because public schools are run by governments, government itself has become the prime motivator for growing enrollments in private schools. Private schools have private funds; they don’t rely on the government and therefore they are more free to set their own school policies.
They handle education with student achievement and learning as their driving goal because great student outcomes make them more competitive with other private schools. They offer more! More personalized interaction through smaller classes. More customized curriculum. More integration of technology. More opportunities for socialization. More knowledge.
They have been much more successful at continuing to educate during challenging times.
Which brings me back to making hard boiled eggs. The simple process of boil the eggs; peel the eggs is informative; but it isn’t the knowledge is required to make the process work!
Knowledge is knowing to add a ½ tsp of baking soda to the water, put in the eggs, bring to a boil, boil uncovered for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit in the water for 20 minutes.
Uncover, drain off the hot water and cover with cold water to stop the heat. Peel immediately by cracking the fat end of the egg so the shell splinters into a web of small pieces. With the edge of your thumb gently peel away the small pieces of shell on the flat area, being sure to get the thin membrane that exists between the shell and the egg, and gently peel the shell to the pointy end of the egg. You can do an egg in just seconds.
But the most important bit of knowledge I gave my dad was to plan ahead so that he has older eggs in his fridge. For hard boiled eggs use eggs that have been in your fridge for at least one to two weeks because fresh eggs are harder to peel.
As I did with my Dad, it is important to not just give our kids information. They need to have knowledge. They need life skills.
Knowledge is understanding the chemistry that baking soda increases the alkalinity which loosens the bond between the egg white and the membrane that lines the shell. It’s understanding that older eggs peel more easily because the level of acidity reduces as they age.
Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, teacher, or family friend; take time to share knowledge with the children in your life. Take time to explain why; that’s sharing your knowledge. Kids need more than just information.
Giving our kids knowledge is like peeling the egg. With knowledge they will come out of their shells just fine. It’s up to each of us to equip our children and our grandchildren with the skills for their future.
“Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience.”– Albert Einstein