I realized three years ago that I’m not really smarter than a 5th grader. Tyler was then learning things in school that I could not remember ever knowing. I must have been absent the day they learned which composer wrote the “1812 Overture” or which ancient city-states were involved in The Peloponnesian War.
You probably know these answers without Googling, but attending Lincoln Elementary School in Robinson, I’m more likely to remember the scores to our kickball games at recess than remembering how to figure out answers to questions like: “If a fraction has a common denominator of 5, what must the numerator be to make it a unit fraction?” I also recall that in 5th grade I received the only paddling I ever got in school, but that’s a story for another article.
Tyler’s now in 8th grade, and after watching a portion of a recent junior high scholar bowl match, I’m definitely out of my league. See how you do on some of these (a sample of junior high questions, but not necessarily from that tournament).
- Sunlight causes the potato to turn green and produce what poison?
- What body does the moon Triton orbit?
- Who carved Stone Mountain, but is better known for his work on Mt. Rushmore?
I think I must have missed some days in 8th grade, as well. But I do know that our boys basketball team made it to the 8AA IESA State Championship Game with an undefeated record, where we lost in overtime to Dixmoor Rosa Parks. I had a front row bench seat for the whole season, being among the “Minute Men” who got to play the final minute of most games because we were often ahead by a safe margin. It was a memorable year on the basketball floor; I just didn’t really learn much in the classroom.
There are so many things I wish I would have paid more attention to in school. I would especially love to know more history and world geography. I never got into science, but now I wish I could talk intelligently on that level. I took two years of German in high school, but it’s one of those use it or lose it skills, and since I’ve never been to Germany or have any occasion to use it, it’s gone. If I’d have taken Spanish I would surely have more opportunity to keep that language fresh.
By the way, how did you do with the questions above? Here are the answers to the 5th grade questions:
- The "1812 Overture" was written by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
- The Pelopponisian Ward was primarily a conflict between Athens and Sparta.
- If a fraction has a common denominator of 5, the number 1 must be the numerator to make it a unit fraction.
And for you 8th grade scholar bowl challengers, here you go:
- Sunlight causes the potato to turn green and produces the poison Solonin.
- The moon Triton orbits Neptune.
- Gutzon Borglum was the man who sculpted Mt. Rushmore.
It’s never too late to learn, I know. I could spend time studying any or all of these subjects. But my passion for the past 15 years has been studying the Bible. I’m nowhere near where I want to be in my understanding of the Scripture. In fact, the more I learn the more I realize how much more there is to know. But I love digging into the Word of God and seeing what’s there. Not just for the sake of information, but for transformation.
The Bible is unlike any other book. It is living and active, convicting and challenging, exposing and encouraging. Far from being a dusty old collection of myths or fairy tales, the Bible is more relevant today than every latest self-help best-seller on the market. It is truth. It is enduring. It is unchanging. The Word of God stands forever.
It is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. It brings heaven’s blessings to those who follow in its ways. It revives the soul, makes the simple wise, rejoices the heart, enlightens the eyes, warns against sin and leads us to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. It is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. God uses it to prepare and equip His people for doing every good work.
Let me encourage you, friend, to read, study, meditate upon, memorize, pray through, and follow the teachings of God’s Word. You may not become a scholar bowl champion, but you will celebrate with thanks to God for the victory that is ours through our Lord Jesus Christ!