Lance Scranton: It doesn’t make sense
October 6, 2015
If you teach or parent you've have heard the expression countless times and experienced the frustration level of a student or child who say they don't understand. Couple frustration with a "drive-thru lane" mentality and you have a recipe for learning resistance that can get the better of even the most seasoned educator. It isn't really that kids just don't get it — it's often that they aren't willing to spend the time working through the steps and struggles of understanding concepts and calculations that add all those new wrinkles to their brains.
It's really difficult living in an instant gratification society that deems complex learning senseless because it doesn't come easily. Complex systems reflect our human nature and help us realize the wonders of a world we still don't fully understand. Scientists and philosophers alike have been musing about this old earth since recorded history began.
Conversely, there are those who believe that everything is too complex and complicated for the "average" person to grasp. These people would like those of us who don't understand to just shut up and get in line so we can be told what to do. The world around us is being shaped by these types of people who believe that asking questions threatens the already established authority of those who know and understand best! Children see this type of echo chamber thinking and grasp for answers to complex questions by aligning themselves ideologically instead of looking at the information and making a decision based on the merits of the case.
Claims are made every day in our culture and even the most discerning can get caught up in the convergent-analysis-of-everything mentality and chuck it all for simple responses. Granted, oftentimes the responses are fairly simple but the way we get there demands a consideration of the facts as we know them, a struggle with the concepts as they are presented and a careful analysis of the information available. One thing is for certain, we can't know everything and we must form an opinion at some point, but I learned a long time ago that just because something doesn't make sense it doesn't mean we can't understand the answer.
I have never understood how we can spend so much money to alleviate the suffering of others only to realize that we can't alleviate suffering for everyone. Suffering is a complex issue and there are many possible answers, but just telling kids who don't understand that "it's complicated" plays into the narrative we are now living through in so much of our culture. "Why bother, the game is rigged, it doesn't matter, so there is no need to ponder and struggle to understand complexities because I can't make a difference anyway." This is the travesty of discounting the possibilities our children have to solve the great issues of our time and looking around the world today — I would say we have quite a few!