By Craig Funston
Sorry, kids, not that word. No, the word I’m thinking of has more to do with laziness, an untrained mind, and an attempted easy excuse for not getting things done.
Before I divulge it, let me assure you that there were a bunch of words tied for second place: Flames, fonics (no, I guess that would be “phonics”), funeral, or Funston—and not necessarily in that order.
We may find ourselves stooping to it once in a blue moon, to cover up our own personal lack of discipline. That would be also known as a soft lie, for all you purists: In other words, I (and you, we, and others) would likely use it when I (you, we, and others) are not coming clean on something that hasn’t been done, when it should have.
The word, of course, is “forget”–or its sister in the past tense, “forgot.”
We use it when we tell the officer that we “forgot” the speed limit changed just before the hill; we use it when we tell the dentist that we “forgot” the appointment was on Tuesday, not Wednesday. Sometimes we stoop to justify missing an anniversary here (guys, confession time!) or a meeting there; or we could discuss when there’s a bill to be paid, but it’s not paid on time.
In one of my worlds, I have students who “forget” to do their homework, or “forget” to bring their binder back from home—you know the binder that’s bigger than their lunch kit, indoor shoes, and backpack combined—and they certainly would never forget those things.
Being the mighty fine, mature Christian teacher that I am, I say very little to that lapse. What I want to say is another thing. It’s neither printable nor repeatable. Okay, okay, slight exaggeration here.
So why do we “forget” so much or at least try to cover up something deeper by pretending to forget? Is it perhaps more of an ethical problem than mental one? Just wondering.
The easy answer, of course, is that I don’t know. Neither do the psychological pundits, but that has never stopped many one of them (or anyone else with a keyboard in front of them) from trying to diagnose the problem.
First, I suggest to you, dear reader (and you too, not-so dear reader), that the root issue is not forgetfulness but laziness. It stems from a keyboard culture, where a click is all that’s necessary for success, where mediocre is the norm.
I could add to the list of contributing factors, but I’m sure you could try to come up with your own: short, stupid television shows; shallow multimedia, instant connections, and video games. I don’t say they are all evil and everyone who engages in them are twits; I just said they are contributing factors.
Age can erode memory, thus creating forgetfulness. That I can can live with. But when directions, recipes, compositions, and patterns are routinely forgotten, missed and messed up, that is not good. And when said mess up becomes acceptable, that is dangerous and tragic.
I personally feel that we need to be less dependent on electronics and more dependent on our own minds. We need to shake the cobwebs from our brain and have those times tables, for example, firmly embedded in our head—and toss the calculators. (Naturally there is place for calculators for the big stuff.)
The Good Book speaks frequently of how to do this: One reference speaks of “renewing our minds”–suggesting something done regularly and refreshingly; another encouragement speaks of tightening up the loose ends of our minds. (The actual phrase is “girding up the loins of our minds,” but I thought I might lose you on that one.
We often see it in young employees who work the cash register in a fast-food outlet, or young staffers who can’t follow basic instructions. They’ve had no training or discipline to do it in their head.
Is there an easy solution? Hardly. But I have four steps for you: 1. Recognize the need for a better, more effective memory; 2. Start working on reconditioning your memory, though lifestyle adjustments, techniques, and, yes, even a better diet; 3. Chip away at memory training practices.
And I, uh, I just forgot the fourth one.