The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. ~Socrates

I took Laura to her dentist last week for a routine checkup. As we were leaving the dentist’s office, one of his assistants was standing in the reception room with a chart in her hand and called, “Elizabeth.” We heard a mom’s voice say, “Elizabeth, come on, she called your name.” Then a child of about nine or ten, who was playing a video game, and who am I assuming was Elizabeth, answered, “I’m not going now.” “Yes, you are,” said the mother. “No, I’m not! Take Brad first. I don’t want to go now,” Elizabeth fervently replied. “Elizabeth, the lady already has your chart in her hand, so you’re going first.” I don’t remember what Elizabeth yelled next, but as she began a full-blown tantrum, every person within earshot turned to look. Laura and I paused momentarily to gawk along with the rest of the reception-room occupants, and then I ushered her past the ensuing melee and out the door.

Sensing an important teaching moment, as we walked to the elevator, I delivered a brief lecture. I chose the Socratic method. When using the Socratic method, the teacher must be very quick-thinking and formulate questions that the student cannot answer except by a correct reasoning process. Of course, through my clever line of questioning, I wanted Laura to reach the conclusion that no good can come of children throwing tantrums. I failed utterly in this regard.

Mom: “Laura, did you see that little girl having a fit in public?”

Laura: “Yes.”

Mom: “She was not behaving very nicely, was she?”

Laura: “No.”

Mom: “Everybody was looking at her, weren’t they?”

Laura: “Yes.”

Mom: “Do you think that her Mom was proud or embarrassed?”

Laura: “Embarrassed.”

Mom: “What were you thinking when you saw that little girl yelling and throwing a fit like that?”

Laura: “I was thinking that no one would want to kidnap her.”

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