Wednesday, April 26, 2017

It's Okay to Say "I Don't Know"

I wrote on this back in 2014 but it's important to re-discuss since too often our society teaches us that revealing you don't know something is a weakness.  Not knowing is not a weakness.  At times it is a HUGE strength.  I recently read the following article in which astrophysicist Brian Cox argues for withholding votes to politicians who claim they know everything.

Too often our politicians claim they have the answer to every question asked of them despite being unable to provide any details to said answers.  Take manufacturing jobs, for example.  There's no doubt manufacturing jobs are decreasing in number.  Every politician running for the highest office in the United States in 2016 claimed they had the answer to bring back manufacturing jobs.  Every one of them lied.  Manufacturing jobs are not coming back.  A free market combined with technological advances is the cause of few manufacturing jobs.  Short of banning technology (not even possible), manufacturing jobs are NOT coming back, no matter what any politician says about it.

As a teacher in the classroom I use the phrase "I don't know" all the time.  We should never be afraid to say "I don't know" if that's the truth.  Often in class students will ask excellent questions.  Often I know the answer.  Sometimes I don't.  Sometimes I know the basics, but not the details.  I don't lie to my students.  I'm honest with them when I don't know.  The same goes for my kids at home.  If I don't know, then that's the answer they get.  The key is then using that to learn more and turn that "I don't know" into " I know!".  

If society would accept that "I don't know" is a far more powerful response than crafting an intelligent sounding lie, the world would be a much better place.  Do your part.  Say "I don't know" when you really don't know.  Then investigate and find an answer!  

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