By David Joel Miller.
6 Reasons why some of the things we learned turn out to not be true.
Turns out that a whole lot of what most of us think we know is not accurate. Some of this does not matter. But if you base your life on things that turn out to be wrong, you can be in a lot of hurt. If we got it wrong we may be teaching our children things that could hurt them. It pays to reexamine some of the things we think we know and see if we got it right.
Here are 6 reasons you may have gotten it wrong.
1. Parents are fallible.
Think back to the first lessons you learned in life. Did you learn a lot about life from your parent or caregiver?
Most of us have things tucked away in our brain, emotional learning, moral learning and attitudes about life that we internalized at a very early point in our lives. Your parent may have told you wrong.
Not that they meant to lie. Back then they looked so big and strong and knowledgeable. For most kids, the adult that raised them looks like an all-powerful god. Then we get older and realize that this person does not know everything. We forget that much of our way of seeing the world was learned from that caregiver before we were able to judge if they had it right.
It continues to amaze me that humans have survived and prospered, more or less, on the earth. Consider that child production and rearing is mostly left to the youngest and least mature of our members. Think about those teen parents trying to raise children even before they have learned how to have a healthy relationship, get a job and cope with life.
Is it any wonder that lots of what we learned, we learned from other children, even if they were our parents?
2. The person we learned from may have been wrong.
We all learned lots of lessons from our peers. Did you learn a lesson about how people are, how you should be on the playground, from another child in an early grade?
That first romantic partner, did you learn about life from someone who had little knowledge also? That 14-year-old girl with a 15-year-old boyfriend, did you learn about love and sex from them? How did they know? In those early relationships, that other partner can appear so adult and knowledgeable. Later we find, as we have more life experiences, that they knew no more than we did, they and we may have been making it up as we went along. Who wants to look ignorant with their lover?
3. Brain chemicals may have interfered with storing and retrieving memories.
Drugs and alcohol are significant culprits in this area. People under the influence have distortions in the way their memories are stored and retrieved. Drug and alcohol use has continued to creep down to younger and younger people. Children in elementary school are experimenting and using drugs on a regular basis.
Stress hormones also interfere with learning and memory. Prescription meds may or may not be needed but there is always that risk that prescribed medication will alter the experience. If you do not feel pain you are at increased risk to be injured. This applies to emotional as well as physical pain.
4. We may have been watching the wrong people for danger.
Many a child has been taught to avoid strangers and not talk to strangers. There is some truth to begin cautious around strangers. What we leave out is that the majority of abuse of children is perpetrated by close family members and friends.
Not every teacher or religious leader is a safe person. Every day we hear about children who were abused or molested, frequently by someone in a position of authority and trust.
If you learn an unrealistic view of the safety or danger of the world you future life experiences will be distorted. A child who is injured by someone they should have been able to trust will be affected for the rest of their life.
5. Even the best student does not get everything right.
For example, the top score in one class on a recent test was 80%, this is a passing score, maybe even a B in most classes. Now if that student teaches this material to a younger brother and that brother gets 80% of what he is taught he now has 64% correct
See how a small error gets rapidly compounded as the facts, almost correct, are repeated.
Consider the effect it may have had on you if someone you learned from had it mostly right but not completely. Then you learn most of what they taught you and now you are trying to pass this on.
This is a reason that we need to continue to check and recheck those things we think we know to see if they are really true.
6. The prevailing wisdom may be wrong.
Just because everyone says something is right, you see it on T. V. or in a movie, does not make that right.
Our media has made it look like the good guys go out and fight every day. Often they use guns and kill the bad guys. The result is a general tolerance of the use of violence to solve problems.
Would it surprise you to know that on some police forces the majority of officers go their whole careers, all the way to retirement, without ever having to discharge their gun in the line of duty?
People who get killed in their own home, they are often the victim of a family member or friend. It is not strangers breaking into your home that you should fear. It is your family member who knows where you keep the loaded gun.
Many of the things I learned as a child, that were thought to be absolutely the way things were, have since turned out to be wrong.
Even the flat earth society has suffered a decline in membership.
Consider these six reasons why things you learned may not be so and then continue to learn new lessons. Accurate knowledge helps make the journey along life’s road happier and more enjoyable.
If you have found other reasons that you have learned things that later turned out to not be true please leave a comment and share these with the rest of us.
Are you on the path to the happy life you deserve?
David Joel Miller, LMFT, LPCC
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books