The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
Deep as a Puddle
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By Erin Pennington
April 17, 2013 12:01 a.m.

Growing up my folks had an expression "be deeper than a puddle". This was their way of telling us to stop and contemplate life and think about things. They were great conversationalists and some pretty intense talks went on around the dinner table.
All topics were up for grabs, but in order to be a part of the discussion, you had to be willing to hear all sides of the argument. We could never get away with statements like, "That's stupid." If you truly thought something was stupid you had to explain why.
My Dad is an educated man and always has a unique way of looking at things. My Mom is a true 1960's thinker and while she wasn't a hippie in lifestyle or dress her ideas are shaped by that era. She thinks about e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g which my brothers and I found amusing. She always wanted to take topics and turn them upside down and inside out for discussion. We would always tell her to settle down and not to "go burn her bra". If we had an essay assignment due that was when she went into full throttle-hippie mode, her topics had subtopics, and her outline had outlines. "Where do you get this stuff?" we would ask. I realize now that my parents were encouraging us to be "free thinkers". The vocabulary and topics we were raised around were probably not what other people discussed.
A couple of years ago I attended a seminar for teachers. We were told that children of educated parents hear on average 3,000 more words per year than children of non-educated parents. The one exception is if your parents are uneducated, but are readers, then the child is still exposed to a wider variety of words and language. To this day, if my daughter has a strange subject to write about in college I hear myself saying "Call your grandparents they'll love this topic!"
Be deeper than a puddle and contemplate life.

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