|The iris symbolizes wisdom. These are a miniature 6" irises from my garden.|
Many eons ago, I used to debate during my high school years at a competition level. Me! Truly! Now, I am lucky if I can stand up and acknowledge that I exist. I think when I was younger it didn't occur to me that I was supposed to be nervous at these competitions. I just figured it was a lark and that I could argue in a civilized manner without getting in trouble with my parents. Even when I competed with my partner, at a provincial level, it was no big deal. Today, I realize that it was a really big deal and I am still in awe that I could get up in front of judges, competitors and the public to speak, rebut and actually enjoy it. I think the harshest criticism I got from a judge was that I really didn't have to push my facts down my opponents throats. I was absolutely shocked because I thought that slaughtering my opponent in a civilized manner was what I was supposed to do. Other judges would back me on it but it made me think.
My father was very proud of my accomplishments and encouraged me to keep going with my education. I remember one quiet Sunday afternoon when my mom was out and I was commenting on how one of my teachers was not the best at what she did. His comment was that learning came in many forms and to just hang in there. I still remember him saying very passionately that "People can take a lot of things away from you but they can never take away your education!" You know, he was so right because you will always know what you know.