Vol.X No.VII Pg.8
September 1973

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

It begins innocently enough, while checking homework of a VERY BRIGHT grandchild (here, see his picture!) you notice instructions: Describe in your own words lower latitudes . To this he has written, Low ground between two hills.

Tactfully you suggest this answer needs revision, and he wants to know what is wrong with it. You explain that latitudes are imaginary lines, circling the earth, marking degrees of distance north and south from the equator. Lower latitudes would be those lines, or the area they define, closest to the equator.

With equal tact he praises you for knowing what the book said (he emphasizes deliberately), but the teacher said, Answer in your own words.

Good joke! You laugh, tousle his head, and marvel at that sharp Turner wit. (Well give his dad credit some other time.) Well, boy, you just put down there, land close to equator.

He is very patient with you, since you dont understand these matters, so he says simply, Grandpa, those are your words, but the teacher wants me to put this in my words. Hmmm, Yes! Have an apple son, and Ill figure this out. Now the boy is brilliant, so— of course— only nine years old and already he has grasped the very essence of todays philosophy. All truth is relative and subject to each individuals interpretation. I read the book with my background, he reads it with his. What is truth to me may not be truth to him. After all, the teacher said In your own words. Only a Grandpa who does not understand this generation would make a fuss over that.

His mother notices the silence and wants to know whats holding up the homework. Well, you can explain. If the teacher is sufficiently filled with love she will accept this answer as genuine self-expression. We must be careful about adverse criticisms— starting negative vibrations, and all that stuff. Besides, you do not know all there is to know about latitudes, or latitudinarians. Here is opportunity to practice unity in diversity.

Then mother comes in swinging a globe like a female Atlas. That smart grandson hurries to his room to correct his homework; Grandpa returns to his paper, and mother to her ironing. Mothers are like that, yeah they are!