As a little boy you grow up convinced dad knows everything there is to know. He answers all the questions you have, with what seem plausible answers and nothing throws him. Nothing.
As you grow up and perhaps study more specialist subjects – e.g. physics like me – dad knows the bits around the edges but less of the details, but still a lot.
Then as you start working and start a family of your own, you begin putting all the stuff that dad taught you to good use and hey it works! And yes when you have your own little ones, dad still knows a lot – he brought you into this world – but he’s letting you have a go now and taking a back seat and watching (no doubt with a smile).
Then as your little ones grow up and they ask you the same questions – and yes they are tricky – you suddenly become the dad that knows everything. That’s part of the job. And if you don’t know something straight way you find out – now a whole lot easier with Google and team. How did my dad figure out things he didn’t know?
Recently my dad’s blown me away with answers to things that I’ve been pondering. Some major stuff and thought provoking and others facts that I needed to know and didn’t.
The major stuff – the size of the universe. Having studied physics at one of the best colleges there is (Imperial College) and being fascinated by the subject, probably even more since college, I like to think I have a good all round understanding of it. But infinity throws me – and the ideas that the universe isn’t infinite or is infinite. Neither answer makes sense. And either answer leads to more questions and mind blowing thinking. How can the universe have an edge? What’s on the other side? And if there’s no edge and it goes on forever that can’t be right, can it?
In steps dad – now retired and enjoying life to the full but still the font of all knowledge. A chat with dad about all sorts and we started talking about this, as you do. Not an issue for dad, it’s simply our lack of understanding of what an infinite universe is. We don’t yet understand the answers properly. Genius. That actually makes sense. We’re just not there yet in how we think about this. I’m happy with this explanation – time to move on.
The race. Why do we run this distance? It doesn’t make sense – why not 1600m which is pretty much a mile? Why this odd distance? A call to dad… 19th century international politics is the answer. 100m we understand, ok it’s Metric, the British weren’t, but it’s a nice number. 200m is just 2 x 100m, 400m is 2 x 200m and 800m is 2 x 400m – logical steps. So the next one would be 1600m yes? No. 1600m is just under an official Imperial mile at 1609m, so pretty much a mile! And a mile is an Imperial (British) measurement – and there was a need for an international compromise on something close – so 1500m was picked. Not too dissimilar from why some countries drive on the left – like the UK – and others on the right. But that’s for another post!
So yes dads do know everything and then soon after you discover that grandad’s know just as much if not more!
Happy Fathers’ Day dad and to all dad’s everywhere!
“A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms even when his hands are empty.”