There really is nothing quite as much fun as blowing minds, even more so the mind of an inquisitive child. What happens if your brain is in a jar in a room with a billion jars, etc., etc. How about that star getting sucked into the black hole, 3.8 billion years ago, today. There is just so much material available now that is truly mind-blowing stuff.
How much longer are you going to live daddy? Probably not much longer. How long am I going to live daddy? Maybe another 150 years! Science is changing everything. What we know, how long we know it. I grew up with V-8′s and B&W television. I distinctly remember being 5 years old and turning off the TV before dinner to “save” the show I was watching for later, only to be told no, it is coming through the air on radio waves. Now my kids can save anything they watch any time they watch it from any of the many devices they watch it on.
I’m still searching for a name for this device in my pocket we call a smartphone. Smartphone is just not enough, neither is computer. This little thing my kids take for granted has accelerometers, a magnetometer, gyros, and a GPS radio, none of which we fully utilize. One golf supply company wrote an app and designed a cradle that attaches The Device to your putter, no giggles please, that analyzes your stroke. Smartphone or computer just seems inadequate in light of these developments.
Then I try to imagine what it must have been like just a few thousand years ago, sitting around the fire, looking into the heavens, and trying to answer the questions that every kid has asked for a hundred thousand years and not having any answers. They thought they had answers, but we now know they were dumb as a box of rocks. Even so, for the last few thousand years parents have been giving their kids the same bullshit answers. Passing on ancient superstitions and fear.
I ask my kids, what are the most important inventions ever, in the whole history of the world. You know after language, pottery, zero, and magnets. What things have changed our, here’s the hint, view of the universe more than any other inventions. The telescope and the microscope is the unquestionable answer. The invention of both of these instruments is the starting point of everything that has blown our collective mind.
My son has seen Saturn’s rings and ice on Mars. We can see bacteria swimming in a drop of water. No more gods moving the heavens or demons invading our souls. We have more knowledge than that possessed by almost everyone that has ever lived. So, when they ask, what are we made of daddy? I have an answer. What is the Sun made of? Ditto. How big is the universe? How old is the universe? Where do we come from? Well, we think this…so far.
But the best part is I can say with all honesty, that all this may change.
And that is what daddies have never said before.
I love being a father today. Right now. Sitting around our fire. Looking at the same sky with a new view. Waiting for a question. Whether I have an answer, look it up on The Device, or get to say we don’t know, but maybe one day you will.
Happy Father’s Day to everyone who has ever sat by a fire under the stars with a child.