Lemmings

My nephew realized during our texting the other day that he had failed to tell me about a sudden memory.

While eating gummy bears, he wasn’t paying attention as he popped one after the other into his mouth until he really liked one. He stopped chewing and checked the half-eaten gummy, a clear one.

That triggered the memory of my mother (his grandmother who mostly raised him) telling him that those were my favorite gummies.

We then texted a while about how and why we have such vivid memories as humans as well as how we know things.

In short, our memories and bodies of knowledge are swirling with many elements of our experiences. I mentioned to my nephew that I usually ask classes of students if they recall the first time visiting a friend’s house and thinking it smelled weird (or even bad).

Virtually everyone immediately perks up because this experience is so vivid in our memories.

My goal in that brief exercise is to help students confront how we associate “different” with “bad,” and as critical educators, we must move past that judgmental state.

But this texting was also a trigger for me.

Photo by Philip Myrtorp on Unsplash

I am resistant to and very rarely fly — not because I am afraid of flying (yes, I am rational enough to know flying is far safer than driving), but because almost all of the experiences around flying trigger my anxiety.

Flying is a series of first experiences (a nightmare for me), racing to meet schedules beyond your control (including sudden gate changes and flight delays, etc.), and worst of all, a toxic soup of cramped spaces and loud noises.

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P. L. Thomas, Professor of Education Furman University, taught high school English before moving to teacher education. https://radicalscholarship.wordpress.com/

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Paul Thomas

P. L. Thomas, Professor of Education Furman University, taught high school English before moving to teacher education. https://radicalscholarship.wordpress.com/