Saturday, March 19, 2011

The General Gist


We watched in alarm as the car turned right across oncoming traffic – almost creating a collision with startled drivers coming in the opposite direction.

It occurred to me that the offending driver might remain completely oblivious to the stir he created. He drove up to an intersection, saw a green light and figured that gave him the right-of-way to make his turn onto the ramp leading to the Motorway. It probably never entered his head that there wasn’t a green turn arrow, meaning that traffic in the opposite direction would be stopped to allow his safe passage. He didn’t consider the wisdom of applying the Give Way rule in this situation.

He saw a green light. A green light means “Go”. So he went.

When my son had just started school, I went along a couple of times a week to help the children in his class with their reading. After the first couple of weeks the teacher pulled me aside and mentioned gently that perhaps I was a bit too literal in my attitudes. The important thing, I was told, was to encourage the children to get the general ‘gist’ of what they were reading, and not to expect them to read it back word perfect.

Stunned, I posed a question to the teacher.

‘So a child picks up a bottle labelled Poison – Don’t Drink; it’s okay for them to go with the general gist of that statement then? It’s all to do with Poison and drinking after all.’

The teacher said I was being overly melodramatic and missing the point. But was I really?

Now, let’s face it, we have a world full of people who operate under the assumption that the ‘general gist’ is good enough. The light is green – I can go.
©Lyn Murphy 2011

1 comment:

Riverina said...

so right...this is why if you report these things to police...the answer will be.."it's just a grey area"
The world is no longer just black and white....:o/