What is it that we really need to know?
Today I decided to read a book. I selected “Black Firsts: Groundbreaking Events in African American History” by Jessie Carney Smith. I was excited as I began to review the facts, starting with the section of architecture, as the book is arranged in alphabetical order by professional categories. As I was reading, I was trying to determine how I can use these facts in my life or create activities in which my students can become familiar with the names and accomplishments of the African Americans named.
Then I began to doubt…”Why do I need to know this?” kept repeating in my head. I started feeling guilty and trying to keep reading but I continued to have questions, in particular, “what will I do with this information?” Although I hate to admit this is what was going through my head as I was reading about Black firsts, I think the revelation extended far beyond the topic of Black news; I was truly (and still are) trying to figure out how do I determine what I really need to know. Better yet, how do I decipher what news and information will one day be relevant in my life….
I think it is safe the assume that my upbringing has and will continue to guide what information and opportunities for information gathering I value. For example, as I seek entry into the business world, will business news always seem to have its proper place in my “spare” learning time……Will news of famous playwrights and poets be valid because I continue to teeter in the field of arts? How will I know that I need to know what I am exploring?
Is it a feeling that guides what we need to know? For example, how I felt while I was reading Black Firsts. If I begin to doubt or question, does that mean I should ignore the learning opportunity? I was a little sad that I felt some sort of doubt while reading Black Firsts….I wondered did I not find the information relevant because it was about Black people (i.e. I’m too old for the Know Your Heritage Bowl so when will this set of knowledge come out of my back pocket). I kept saying to myself, “it is good to know about the accomplishments of your ancestors.” That argument did not really work because although IT IS good to know, I already KNOW. I KNOW in my heart, I KNOW in my actions, I KNOW in my strength. I will NEVER doubt the achievement of my Black ancestors.
And so….I began to write this piece. Trying to figure out how we decide what we need to know. In school, it was clear-know what you need to know to pass the test. At work it can be clear- know what you need to know to not get fired. In every other aspect of life it is more difficult….you have to determine what you NEED (what words are calling you when your spirit needs to hear something new…..). I think I did want to read something that would inform me about Black people, Black struggle, Black excellence. But this was not the right choice.
I am now off to see what words/ information my soul needs at this time. I hope yours needed those above.
THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING MY WORDS AT THIS VERY MOMENT.
So, how do you know what you NEED to know?