My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:
I had a dream about you last night, Shosh. I was helping you with your homework assignment on sharks. We caught a baby shark, and I tried to put a nose ring on it to keep it on a leash. Note to self: sharks hate nose rings.
Remember how we used to draw pictures of dinosaurs, construction equipment and starfish? You used to have an immense curiosity about those things and we constantly read about or talked about them. Once, when you were about 3 1/2, we were at the aquarium and looking at the tide pool/touch pool where a number of different starfish was on display. You pointed to a starfish and said that it was a leather starfish (the second one above). The aquarium guide “corrected” you and said it was an ocre starfish (the top one above). You disagreed and tried to explain to her that it was a leather star. She wouldn’t have it. I smiled and told her that she should listen to you. She decided to go off and consult her books. Shortly thereafter, she returned to apologize and confirmed that it was a leather star.
Three lessons reveal themselves here. First, don’t believe in “experts” just because they are experts. Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes, “experts” are too smart for their own good and can be blinded by their own “expertise” and blinded to the data confronting them. Second, always pursue what you love. Be curious. Be intensely curious. Life is an unlimited buffer if you nurture that curiosity. Third, trust yourself. Be willing to entertain other ideas, even opposing ideas, but never jettison your thoughts because it’s expedient, because an “expert” said you’re wrong, or because others disagree with you. If you are right, you stay right even if everyone disagrees. If you are wrong, you remain wrong even if everyone agrees. Don’t worry everyone else. Trust in yourself.
All my love, always,