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Sat, Dec. 14

Column: Granddaddyisms - 23

Here is the 23rd edition of Granddaddyisms I shared with our oldest grandson when he was a teenager.

• I'm glad you are becoming more confident in what you are learning and doing. Real self-confidence is knowing that if you want to send the best, YOU go!

• You know what's critical about your formal education? It's understanding what is important after you have forgotten the facts. It's like the American history course you took several years ago. Remember my helping you learn dates and places? You're unlikely to remember that stuff. But what you ought to remember are the issues. Unfortunately, school history books do a poor job of illuminating issues, which are controversial or reflect poorly on our nation's leaders. The books have been sanitized! There is a study out on this, which became a book. It's called "Lies My Teacher Told me." That is a lousy title because it is not the teachers' fault. Citizens who select or approve school textbooks do not want young people to know the true history of our country. How white people treated native americans or black people, for instance. So there is a "heroification" of leaders. The textbook companies know public officials and school boards won't buy texts that tell the truth about our nation's history so they produce homogenized versions. There is only one history textbook I recommend you read and it's "A People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn. It is the only history book I know of that deals honestly with our country's past.

• I'm pleased you are reading the chapter on "Change" in my book. Here is a little something I didn't put in it: Many people will change when they feel the heat, not when they see the light.

• Back when I was your age, I really didn't know what adolescent rebellion was. I was too happy and content to live in a home (most of my friends were crowded together in small apartments) and I knew I should be grateful for what we had. I didn't have many clothes, but what I had I took care of because I knew my parents couldn't afford to buy me new ones. So I hung them up in my small closet when I took them off and was careful to ask my Mom to patch them or sew pieces together when they split. So, what I'm wondering is whether you feel the need to continue your little rebellion by tossing your good clothes onto the floor or whether it's time to begin hanging them up and taking care of them? I really doubt you will leave them wherever they fall when you share a room next year at college with a roommate. This might be a good time to make a move into adulthood. What do you think?

• No, I'm not crazy about politicians either. For a politician to possess a little bit of power is like a person having a little bit of pregnancy. It's there, and it's going to get bigger!

• How often we ascribe to strangers or acquaintances power and strength, which, in truth, they do not possess. Once we establish relationships with these same individuals, we quietly strip them of these qualities, recognizing that they are, indeed, fallible human beings, like us. We do it with teachers, for instance, and you will likely do it next year with your professors, Dylan. It's okay, but just remember, they have flaws just like the rest of us.

• No, I don't believe some people have charisma. I believe we invest them with it. Once you get to know a person-really know them-the charisma disappears. Then they become just as human and flawed as the rest of us.

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