Remember the old Schoolhouse Rock song, “Knowledge is Power?” As I get older, I appreciate this little ditty for more than just its catchiness. It actually has some meaning to it. Hindsight is 20/20, right? When I was 5, I didn’t know that it’s impossible to get my eyes stuck when I crossed them, like my parents told me. So, I was scared into a certain behavior due to my lack of knowledge. If only google existed back then. I would have typed in the question, discovered the truth, and been free to cross my eyes whenever I wanted.
This concept has been pretty helpful in other aspects of life, ranging from the obvious day-to-day matters, to the controversial and urgent. Believe or not, after college it took me a while to learn that I have to pay attention to what my paychecks say. As reliable as the Army is, sometimes Uncle Sam makes a mistake (gasp!) and I had to make that right. It’s easy to be on autopilot and trust without question. And sure, I would have been fine, but not the best.
I remember another issue from the Army days that’s not the most pleasant to talk about. A young girl was being sexually harassed, but she didn’t realize it. All she knew was something felt wrong. One day, we had a seminar on sexual harassment prevention that included some examples of wrong behavior:
Unwanted remarks about another person’s body, the way they looked, the way their clothes fit. Physically blocking a doorway or exit to keep someone from leaving a room. Offensive jokes or physical gestures. Etc.
Like a light bulb, suddenly this girl knew she was doing nothing wrong, and she no longer needed to tolerate this. Others who also experienced sexual harassment, learned the policy and proper way to report the behavior. Suddenly, the power these women lost, was returned to them.
It’s true on everything from buying a house, to choosing a pet, to taking care of your health. Something I am coming to terms with more and more every single day. When you know more, you can do more. Ignorance is bliss, knowledge is power.