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Know It AllsNCHS Superintendent’s Report

By Ernie Fowler – Nashville CHSD #99

September is here. For me, this is “birthday month”. It is funny how the saying is “another year older, another year wiser”. I guess in some ways that is true. In other ways, it seems like as I get older I begin to realize just how little I know. There are so many people in the world today and so many things being done it just amazes me how many times I say….”I never knew that”. Regardless of age, there are those folks who we come across that seemingly have never used that phrase. You know who I’m talking about. We refer to them as “know it alls”. They are the expert on everything. They have done it all, seen it all, and always far better than we could have ever imagined!

Who is that person in your life? It might be a friend. It might be a relative. Heaven forbid, it might be a spouse. This person has never had a subject thrown at them that they cannot comment on. This is the person that, whatever experience you have gone through, it pales in comparison to their experience. If you tell them you vacationed in the mountains, they would tell you they actually climbed the mountains. If you had open heart surgery and bragged on the medical care you received, it doesn’t compare with the care they received when they were treated for their ingrown toenail! In addition, they often freely advise you on what you should have done to have made the experience (either good or bad) better.

An indicator that you are in the presence of the all-knowing is when you hear the person ask a question. The question is a rarity from such a force but the “know it all” doesn’t ask a question for information. They ask the question so you can hear them answer the question they just asked. I remember in once instance, I was asked about the process to purchase a house. Of course, I’m not a real estate agent and have no formal training to deal with such a matter. My expertise comes from the time my wife and I bought our house. I began to explain what we had to do. Before I could even make my first point, I was interrupted by the person telling me how that wasn’t right. I politely said, “Oh, maybe I don’t remember exactly” all the while thinking “shut up and let me talk”. I went on to my second point to once again be interrupted by being told how what I said couldn’t possibly be right. I could see where this was going so I finally advised the person to go elsewhere for their information. I might as well have said, “I’m completely ignorant and a moron with no idea of how I bought a house.”

Like at any age, our high school students will come across classmates or others who are “know it alls”. I do have a background in psychology so let me offer this advice. The “know it all” is often the result of feelings of inferiority and insecurity. Have patience and compassion for the person. After all, if one has to proclaim how smart they are, they are usually the only one who holds that opinion!

Know It Alls