Many people mix up the terms ignorance, stupidity, and bravery. I discuss these terms under the topic of education, because knowing or not knowing the difference between stupidity and ignorance makes a difference to people’s ability to learn. The reason for this is that many people use the term ignorance as if it were a stick and as something that a person should be ashamed of. Example: “You’re so ignorant that you’ll never learn (stupid is also used incorrectly here) . I put to you that everyone is ignorant of something. Ignorance is only shameful when a person is obstinately and willfully ignorant. Stupidity really has nothing to do with a person’s ability to learn either, except when someone is willfully ignorant. Example: I don’t know versus I don’t want to know.

I recommend that the next time someone attempts to use the term ignorance as a stick on you, that you tell them, “Ignorance is curable with the willingness to learn, while the stupidity of making assumptions about a person’s character is a personal flaw that, if it becomes a habit, is difficult to alter. Wait, no… perhaps not the second half of that. Too likely to start a fight. It is helpful to know the second half; however, as it helps stiffen the spine, when dealing with such situations.

Getting upset with someone who makes such character assumptions is a wasted effort, as they have only proven their own ignorance twice over. The first time by making an assumption in the first place and the second time by using the term ignorant incorrectly.

If an educator uses either ignorant or stupid as a stick, bat, or blunt object to beat up their student, it should be simply reported to the school system and that person should be educated by the school system, not the student or their parent. The student should be moved to a different class or a different school altogether if the educator is not dealt with appropriately.

The difference between these terms, along with other mean-hearted/cruel terms and appropriate behavior related to their use is something that children should be made aware of, as there is a high probability that a child will not bring it up to their parents.

For example, children often have difficult experiences at school, because they are unaware of good ways to deal with or respond to the mean and cruel things that other children or their instructors might say to them. The last thing a child (or anyone for that matter) should do is act upset or angry when in a confrontation, regardless of whether or not they are.

Taunt: Your momma wears combat boots!

Possible Responses: So. Who cares? / So. Is that important to you for some reason? / So. That means she’s strong and a fighter. / So does that mean your momma doesn’t?

Attitude and bearing are as important as the response. If you act afraid or flinch away, you mark yourself as a victim for future attacks. If you act aggressively, you are inviting the situation to escalate to a physical fight.

I recommend teaching children to fight, but advising them that it should always be a last resort. My father told me, “Never throw the first punch. You had better not start any fights, but if you get into one, you had better finish it” In other words, if you allow yourself to be beaten up by bullies, they don’t simply go away, they keep coming back for more.

Please discuss this with your children and by all means, post a few other taunts, regardless of whether you have come up with ideas for how to deal with them. We might be able to toss around a few ideas and come up with some good solutions. On my website please, or I likely won’t see them and chances are that only your immediate friends will get to see them:.

To post on the website:

  • You have to be registered and the post has to be approved.
  • The website will not allow a lot of crude words to be posted, so if it won’t post, you will have to simply refer to what you mean.)

Assumption: A theory or belief that is accepted as true without proof.

Bravery: Acting in the face of danger in spite of fear and with knowledge of the danger, because it is the right thing to do.

Ignorance: A lack of knowledge/information/data.

Stupidity: Behaving without sense or judgement.

Taunt: A comment meant to anger, provoke, or wound.

This means that a person who acts poorly in ignorance, does so because they are not aware of all the facts, while a person who acts poorly with stupidity does so regardless of the facts.

Example of bravery: She ran into the burning house to save a child.

Example of ignorance: He died of smoke inhalation, because he didn’t know the house was on fire.

Example of stupidity: She refused to be helped by a thief, so she drowned.