I keep encountering news articles bemoaning the encouragement, in children right now, of keeping your head down, doing well in school and “getting through” so you can get out into the great big world and make your own choices. Rewarding kids for striving for this mindset is, we are told, essentially teaching them to be hoop-jumpers. And I worry when I read these articles because I was one of those kids–kept my head down, did really well, and got out with enough accolades to be helped toward doing what I wanted with my life. And I think, “am I only a hoop-jumper, then?”
Such fears worsen when I watch (yes, for the first time; it wouldn’t be a party if I wasn’t late to it) shows like Sherlock and Dr. Who, where I feel keenly in tune with the desire of the non-brilliant party to impress the man with all the answers. Is this just part of my training, then, I worry? Am I just wanting a gold star of approval as though I were in third grade again? Do I just want more hoops, and to be rewarded for jumping through them?
But I don’t think that’s true. Because, as I was finally able to articulate to myself last night after finishing Season Five’s Christmas special, what I like about the Doctor is that he is in a position to know so much, to be so wise and experienced and, sure, jaded. But he is still constantly learning from the less-wise, less-experienced, less-jaded humans in his acquaintance. And that is what I crave to instigate in people. I don’t need to be the best or the smartest or the longest-living or the one who’s seen everything. I just need to know that I can still teach those people something.
And that’s not jumping through hoops. That’s giving an insight to people who should have maxed out their insight quota long ago. But who still think there’s something you have worthy of knowing. That they don’t, yet.