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It brings me great joy to share my writings with you. Thank you for spending time on my website.


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What’s something most people don’t understand?

There is an important difference between knowing and understanding.

Knowing requires learning, but understanding requires doing.

You can learn to play Eric Clapton’s songs, but you cannot learn how to play like Eric Clapton. Eric Clapton more than knows how to play the guitar; he understands it. He has a feel for it.

You can learn all the rules of English grammar, but you will not understand how to read and write until you do it.

You can learn the mechanics combustion engines, but working on engines is how you will understand them, to maintain them.

You can know how to build a dam, but only someone who understands the work through their doing of the work can tell you that they just know that the dam is going to fail. Like a professional guitar player, they have a feel for it.

Cops understand when someone is lying. Firefighters understand buildings. Soldiers understand combat. Chefs understand heat and flavor. People-persons understand how to bring the best out of someone, or sometimes the worst.

My mom was a baker. She made cakes as side income. Birthday cakes. Wedding cakes. Anniversary cakes. I got a feel for baking by watching her. Eventually, she would sleep while the cakes baked overnight, and I would pull them out of the oven when they were ready. Often, the timer said one thing, but the cake said another.

It’s not something that can be taught, cause it’s only something that can be caught. When you open an oven door all the way, until it rests on its hinges, you can see ‘a bounce’ through the cake that’ll tell you if it’s baked all the way through or if it needs more time.

It’s hard to describe the movement of the cake vis-a-vis its color and smell, but it is a more reliable gauge than time and temperature. You can learn time and temp, and you can learn to follow the alarm, but you can only understand doneness by doing, repetitively.

To this day, I can look at a cake in the oven—and cookies, pies, brownies, and so on—and tell you the amount of time it needs by 30 second intervals. This needs 7 and a half minutes. That needs 12 minutes.

As a Christian, I know that my faith is not just a matter of knowing. It’s a matter of understanding. That takes a lot of doing, a lot of forgiving, a lot of loving. When we see Christians behaving and speaking in unloving ways, it’s because they are knowing, and not understanding.

It’s beautiful: how we all have something we understand and how we can understand more things. I like learning, and I know many things because of my esteem for learning, but I also like understanding, and between the reading benders and research projects, I like to just get out into the world and experienced it first hand, trying to get a feel for life instead of a knowledge base of it.

This was my first daily prompt response for WordPress. Thank you for reading.

One response to “The difference between knowing and understanding.”

  1. Goodbye, New York Times, San Antonio Express-News – Dom the Writer Avatar

    […] news helps me know the world, but it doesn’t always help me understand it. I wrote about this conceptual difference in a recent blog post. I’m running with this concept, and that’s hard to do, since I’ve been a news reader since […]


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