As a young boy, whenever I asked for the definition of something I was told to “look it up”. I hated that answer! It seemed so futile: if the task was to get something done and you knew the answer, why should I look it up?
It is clear to me now that I was told to look it up as a young boy to get me into the habit of being independent, of being able to fend for myself, and probably more importantly, not bothering busy people when the answer was available elsewhere.
In fact, that response has ended with me:
Learning to read by looking up words in the dictionary.
Learning to juggle by dropping lots of balls.
Reading El Quijote in Spanish the same way I learned how to read.
Learning to connect to the Oxford English Dictionary hosted at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne from home via a 2400 baud modem and a connection to the dial-up lines at UIC-Chicago the same way I learned how to read (and by bothering more than one techie…).
Along the way I also learned:
- how to use PowerPoint (via Aldus Persuasion, which in my opinion was infinitely more powerful)
- how to write HTML
And remember, I started out not knowing how to read.
I guess my teachers weren’t so dumb after all.
And the next time you consider asking someone you know for the answer to a question just as easily answered by Google, consider looking it up first. Just look where it might lead you!