"Wow! Your daughter is very logical."
Said my friend Alex*, with a bewildering surprise on her face, of our first daughter Jo.
"How can you tell?" I asked, "she's just a toddler."
At the time, Jo was a little over two.
"Because she said, 'I don't know.'" Alex replied, "I asked her a question. She thought about it, realized that she didn't know the answer, and said, 'I don't know.' Most kids just make up an answer."
From then on, my husband and I started noticing more of Jo's logical inclinations -- how she loses interest in reading, writing, art and math within a few minutes, but can work on mazes and puzzles for thrice as long; how she always argues with an if-then type of approach when negotiating for candies and ice-cream; and how she looks me in the eye and says, "mommy you're wrong" when I tease that beads are blueberries.
I'm not boasting -- my tone is matter-of-fact -- because Jo has shortcomings too, and I'm a firm believer that every child is smart and talented in their own way. I'm also a firm, firm believer that it's up to the parents to get to know a child, find and explore her talents, and encourage her to apply her talents toward a successful career that will better the world.
Anyway, that's my hope for the future. For right now, I'm just thankful to have found Jo's talent earlier on, so I have more time and preparedness to support her in what she wants to accomplish.
I'm also thankful that she's just a kid, without the bitter taste of a battered ego, who still has the audacity to admit when she doesn't know.
More people should say, "I don't know."
I remember asking a senior person at work for a one-liner -- a handful of variables and operators and nothing more. Instead of saying, "I don't know," he rambled on and on about system re-writes and overbearing managers. Anything to avoid hurting his ego.
Now that's just a sad way to exist.
I'm no better than him.
Made the same mistake many, many times. But at least I can start a-fresh, and learn from my little girl by answering, "I don't know."
Better yet, how about a more confident answer like "I don't know. But give me some time, and I will try to find out."
Do NOT know if it works.
Do NOT know if matching cognac and gray, or mixing leopard and watercolor are good ideas?
But hey, at least I admit that I've no clue what I'm doing.
And I'm trying to find out.
* Person's name was changed to protect her privacy.