I was setting watching the Star Trek reboot with my 12 year old son tonight and for a moment, I literally had to question if a stroke was eminent. Now, bear in mind, he's a quite bright young man; he has been making great grades. However, with that said he often displays a unique deficiency when presented with - well, let's just let the evidence speak for itself. And for the record, everyone in our house has seen the movie several times.
Before my son had left for a weekend visit to a friends house I had been tinkering on a computer tower my father-in-law had brought me. The same tower was still setting in my makeshift work-bench area when he returned, and I decided to playfully probe his observational skills. So I asked him: "Guess what?" Call me cliche, call me hopeful, but I actually expected him to guess in response.
"What?" That was the only words to escape his lips as he watched Kirk defeat the unbeatable scenario.
"Normally, when someone prompts you to guess what, they expect you to - guess, something." I chided him. Dumbfounded he heehawed around before just shrugging and claiming he gave up. This is where it gets interesting.
"You can't give up!" I declared. "Never surrender, there is no Kobyashi Maru, I will not accept any surrender.' Again he continued to claim that he could give up, that as he put it "I alone am allowed to surrender - nobody else can." He then proceeded to inquire who this Kobyashi Maru was anyways, and he had just seen the scene literally seconds ago before his eyes.
The boy went on for twenty minutes or more trying to stumble his way through why Kobyashi Maru seemed familiar but couldn't even come close to the answer even when presented with a flood of point blank clues the least of which(and the first one given) that he had just recently heard it and should therefore be quite familiar. With less than five minutes left before bed I had to plead with him to let that go and tried desperately to redirect him to the original point of inquiry.
And you know what?
He went right back to: "Alright, I was trying to figure out who this Kobyashi Maru is." *facepalm*
Even when I told him to push the power button on the tower as a clue he blinked at me and after several long moments the asked "Oh, does it work?" Unable to resist myself I quipped: "Nope." To my youngest son's credit when I asked him to chime in he looked up to his older sibling and just shook his head and added: "Nope, sure doesn't work. Not at all."
I love my children. But clearly, I may need to educate them about some of the more important life lessons more. Knowledge, without understanding never truly achieves it's worth.