In L.A.’s school district, when I was a kid, Health was a required class taken in junior high — eighth grade to be specific.
We were taught the basics of course, on how our bodies were changing and even the appropriate methods to shower and dress. And yes, there was that awkward period where our knowledge of the “bird and bees” was clarified — in great detail I might add. As almost-adults, we already pretty much knew the nuts and bolts but my memories are that it was an extremely uncomfortable week, especially since boys and girls were not separated. We were beyond the phase of snickering (at least in class) but everyone sat board straight upright, careful not to make eye contact with anyone else in the room.
I don’t know if it was a required part of the course but one thing I most remember was Mr. Hubbard took us beyond the basics and engaged us in discussions about politics, the economy, and relationships. One could rightly argue that he was as concerned with our societal health as he was with our physical health. Good for him.
A particular concept for me that has withstood these many decades is the notion of “you knows.”
Briefly summed up, we gravitate to people with whom we share more “you knows,” drifting from those with whom we don’t. Call it, “birds of a feather” if you will.
As an age example, if you’re a baby boomer, I can say,
“I never understood how they could switch Darrins on Bewitched and not explain it, you know?” You — understanding that arcane reference — can nod and say, “Yeah, I never got it either.” Someone of a younger age (or who didn’t watch Sixty’s sitcoms) would gape blankly muttering, “Huh?”
There are all manner of “you knows” ranging from locational (“Nothing puts me in perspective more than standing at the base of a redwood tree, you know?”) to spiritual (“Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I connect with my higher power and feel better, you know?”) and all and everything in between.
“You knows” bring us closer together; it’s shorthand for sharing the human experiences.
All I need say is “Summer of Love,” “Challenger explosion,” or even “The Monkees,” and if you were there, you know; you grok it (a Sci-Fi “you know”).
Alas, there’s a darker side. My fear as I look across our land is that we are walling ourselves up into camps, sacrificing our “you knows.” To some, it’s considered weakness, even a character flaw, to want to learn what the “Others” know. We — the “Us” — have staked out a position, locking arms, standing shoulder to shoulder with those that share our “you knows;” our backs confronting the “Them.” “‘They’ don’t understand; ‘They’ are wrong, different, confused, ignorant.” From there, lacking commonality, the terms we use to describe “Them” drifts darker: “They” are stupid. “They” are mean. “They” are evil. “They” are out to do “Us” harm. “We” must stop “Them” before they stop “Us”.
Without a common dialog of “you know,” there is no “Us.”
The factions will continue to drift further and further apart, a chasm becoming a canyon. “You know” is a bridge, but it can only extend so far.
Don’t get me wrong; I have my judgments; I’m nowhere near perfect and I’m certainly not trying to preach. But, I hope you’ll share my effort to consciously reach out and seek “You knows” with those who seem to have differing views without pre-judgment. To listen to what “They” say doesn’t mean we condone it — or even accept it.
Yet, reality is we are all here together and none of us are leaving, so it can’t hurt to get along, you know?
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is a nationally known weight loss expert for baby boomers and the CRP (Chief Recovering Perfectionist) of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com. He is available for coaching and speaking. His new book (co-written with his sister), “The Busy Baby Boomers Motivational Guide to Weight Loss” is now at www.BabyBoomersGuides.com