The Knowing Everything Theory


A Level economics was one of my favourite things to learn (I spent the lessons giggling with my friend Sooz, eating cheese sandwiches and texting boys … I used the textbook to learn the actual subject at home. A lot harder. Concentrate in class kids.). Because of this I like to think about things sometimes in terms of graphs. Not the clever mathematically accurate, scientifically proven graphs that my Economics studying friends at university used, no – these are a-level type graphs that Social Policy graduates (or at least slap dash ones like me) think are a largely acceptable way to explain theories.

I starting thinking about the different stages of Knowing Everything recently. You know, those times in life when you feel that you can allow yourself to be a little bit smug because you kind of have everything wrapped up? Apart from you look back and realise you absolutely did not and wasn’t that embarrassing.

My theory is based (like 99% of things I write) on my own experience and my observation of others … So it’s about as scientific as a bunch of 8 year olds counting bugs in a grid square on the school field. But here goes …

There are 4 stages of Knowing Everything that are as follows:

1) The Humble Learner – the Humble Learner will participate actively in soaking up all the knowledge they can on a subject. They know nothing or very little but want or need to know as much as possible.

2) The Quietly Confident – the humble learner has gained enough knowledge to start to be confident. They are not 100% sure of anything but have enough of a knowledge base to get by and experience some degree of satisfaction when they can answer questions correctly or show some expert knowledge.

3) The Know It All – After some time the Know It All emerges. And don’t we know it. They have all the answers and offer them even when no one has asked a question. They pop up to condescend, disagree and generally be right at any given opportunity.

And finally – and thankfully –

4) The Utterly Clueless. The Utterly Clueless, and probably the nicest, stage occurs after either a gentle epiphany or an epic breakdown. The know it all either slowly but surely begins to realise that ‘err, sorry I may not actually be right about this’ or something significant happens to make them realise all of a sudden that they didn’t actually have the foggiest idea in the first place and everything they said and did as the Know It All makes them want to curl up into a ball and be sucked into a hole in the ground.

It is highly likely that this is a cycle that will repeat itself over and over again and perhaps, if we’re lucky, we can just limit the degrees of the peaks and troughs between Know It All and Utterly Clueless and ideally elongate the less turbulent times in between.

As promised here is a highly technical graphical representation of my theory …

graph 1

A highly technical representation of my life so far and a prediction for the future

photo 2 (7)

And 0-30 years in more detail

Here you can see that there is load of Know It All at point A – this is that time when children have been a nursery for a while and know EVERYTHING there is to know about the world. This is when they say things like ‘actually Mummy …’ and totally disagree with you whilst presenting their far superior opinion/idea/knowledge after everything you say. Annoying. It’s ok though because they start school and their mind is blown by how little they know. There is a lot of learning to do over the next few years. This is where they slowly but surely ascend to point B. Teenagers. In my experience teenagers have a long, long period of Knowing It All and its really not at all worth it to even suggest that they might not. Sadly for me, the end of my teenage Know It All years came with a bang – an epic breakdown, which was actually followed by a gentle ephinany: I do not know everything. In fact the older I get the less I know – I stand by this – however, slowly, slowly my old ways crept back and by 25 I was doing pretty well as a Know It All then BOOM! I had a baby. The come down to Utterly Clueless from this point was actually quite gentle. I got on ok with a newborn baby and could slowly adjust to our new family life … but when my baby was 6 months to a year and with the birth of our second baby I was  plunged straight back down into the land of the Utterly Clueless. I hope now to creep back up to the Quietly Confident and stay there.

I then started thinking about Joni and my theory revealed an alarming prospect:

Presuming that I have no positive influence on Joni’s life and her Know It All status follows the same trajectory as mine did at her age … we’re doomed!

photo 5 (2)

As you can see plotting Joni’s potential graph against mine shows we cross over at points A-D. So does this mean we will have 4 points in her childhood that we will be at equilibrium? Or will it be that I will be most in control as her parent between points B and C when I predict I will be more of a big fat Know It All than her?

Obviously my hope for her and for me, and where it would be probably nicer, is to be on a more even footing … floating around the middle of the scale …

photo 3 (5)

Doesn’t sound much like me though. Know what I mean?


This entry was posted in Childhood, Parenting and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to The Knowing Everything Theory

  1. josandelson says:

    Love your graphs which I’d like to cut out and keep if that’s ok? This is a brilliant post and sort of coincides with this quote attributed to Mark Twain “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” (Utterly Clueless)

    • bornin2011 says:

      That’s a fantastic quote. Love that. I’m sorry my graphs are nothing more than drawn with a marker pen but you are very welcome to them and thank you

  2. Fiona says:

    Haha! I love this post. I’m dreading the teenage stage, truly dreading it, there’s no way I will remain straight faced and polite when faced with a know it all (yes obviously really clueless) teenager x

  3. fritha says:

    ha brilliant, and yes I totally had long years of being a know it all and there is nothing like motherhood to bring you down to utterly clueless. I to am dreading teenage know it all years xx

  4. Lori says:

    So funny as I was reading down this post I kept relating it to motherhood, thinking yep this sounds about right for me and then boom, you said it 🙂 Basically my theory was it’s all a phase until they are four, my new theory is, it’s all a phase until you’re 94, at which point you’ll stop caring x

  5. Wow, you’ve really thought this through! I like it x

  6. Vicky says:

    Haha, I love Lori’s comment! I love this theory, and am another one who is utterly dreading the teenage years – you just can’t tell them anything!

  7. Haha I love this post – made me smile – it’s so true! I think we all look back and are like did we really think life was going to be like that and we thought we knew it al. Love the four stages as well

    Laura x

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