I have a BS in Physics not because I am particularly smart, but because I am stubborn.
The same can be said about my juggling, unicycling, guitar and banjo playing, painting, and almost every other activity in which I have engaged in my life.
I am not particularly talented in any of those things. I just have a deep and abiding belief that parallels something I once read by one of my heroes.
I would generalize that to say, “what one fool can do, another can.” Someone may be smarter than I am. Someone may be inherently more talented than I in any particular field. But that does not mean that I cannot do what they did. It just means that I might have to work harder to accomplish the same things.
Which brings me to the title. The whole point of royalty is that these are people who were given rule by divine right. A deity or deities decided that a person is better than anyone else and that no matter how hard someone else works, no matter what anyone else will do, they will never measure up.
Maybe it is the fact that I am an American born in the twentieth century, but I just don’t buy it. Barring physical or mental deficiencies, a person can learn new skills and improve over time.
It is for this reason that I become annoyed when someone says, “oh! You have a degree in physics. You must be smart!” No. Almost anyone not hampered by certain learning disabilities can learn physics if they put in the time and effort. I am an example of that. Heck! I have a learning disability and I earned my degree.
And that is the point. I earned it. I worked hard. I studied. I spent long nights without sleep. All so that I could improve my problem solving and analytical skills.
It is the same with music. I practice guitar and banjo regularly. I challenge myself to learn new things. I push myself to become better than I used to be. Sadly, my skills in singing, piano, and harmonica have atrophied from lack of use. It happens.
But my fingertips of my left hand have been reshaped with callouses earned through hours on the fretboard. And nine year old me taking my first lesson would be amazed at what I can do now.
I subscribe to the words of Lazarus Long in Heinlein’s Time Enough For Love, “(a) human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
And I believe that every single one of us can be amazing.
I suppose that is why I always liked one of the concepts of Superman that is rarely used anymore … the Man of Tomorrow. The idea that Superman was what we could all become … someday. If we work at it. If we all try to be better than we are. Superman is what we should strive for. And if we keep trying … if we keep reaching, we can pull ourselves out of the muck and be wonders.
And even though Superman truly is born physically and mentally superior to all of humanity, he is not a king. He does not attempt to rule.
He seeks to inspire.
And in that vein, I say that we should not teach kids “science (or whatever subject you wish to insert here) is hard and only smart/talented people do it.” We should let them know that there are challenges ahead, but if they work hard and persevere, the rewards are theirs for the taking.
We. Can. Do. Wonders.
So let’s start.