Friday, February 12, 2016

What I Know and What I Thought I Knew

I try to always practice what I post, especially when it comes to learning. I truly believe that learning is not restricted to the halls of academia, that it is a lifelong process. I also believe that we always must be willing to learn new things, even if that contradicts what we thought we knew. Keeping an open mind allows us to grow and change across our entire life.

Adapting your thinking to new information can be difficult. Everyone has at least one subject that they think they are an expert on. But admitting you were wrong about something teaches our children that we all make mistakes and we can move forward from those mistakes. For example, I've been a backyard bird watcher for at least 15 years. I thought I was at least well versed in identifying my frequent visitors. Imagine my surprise when I realized that some of the birds I identified as downy woodpeckers were actually hairy woodpeckers. In all my years watching, I had never seen both at the feeders at once, so I assumed they were the same bird. Seeing them together, it was so obvious. The hairy woodpecker is bigger, about the size of the red-bellied woodpecker. Its beak is longer. The downy is smaller, closer to sparrow size, with a shorter beak. I felt embarrassed to misidentify such a common bird, but I was also excited to realize there was another species of woodpecker at my feeders. Ever since I realized it, I've pointed out the differences to my family any time I see one or the other. I am not one to let embarrassment get in the way of showing off the beautiful birds in my yard.
Downy woodpecker and her fledgling from June 2015. It's still hard to tell without seeing the beak, but the black barring on the white tailfeathers is more common with downy woodpeckers.

Learning should always take precedence over pride. Let your children see you are not afraid of making mistakes. Recognizing and understanding our mistakes is one of the best ways to remember our lessons.


Inner Elder said...

That is a wonderful lesson - learn from your mistakes. Thank you for pointing out the different woodpeckers to me. Love, Mom

Paula Vince said...

They get gorgeous. Woodpeckers are another breed of bird which keeps popping up in literature that we don't have. My nephew who was boarding with us has set himself up as an expert on the birds we do have, and my daughter is always trying to snap a photo he hasn't got. She has yet to succeed.

jugglingpaynes said...

Wow! I didn't realize you don't get woodpeckers. I wonder if they have any distant cousins near you? In a way they remind me of your kookaburras--they have a happy, laughing call. They continuously rap on the trees, but occasionally they will use a drainpipe, which sounds like someone is using a pneumatic drill. :)

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