When I worked with teenagers we’d get giant ice cream shakes as a special treat. These were seriously massive, spilling-over-the-top, shakes in every flavor with every possible mix-in imaginable. But these were only on rare occasions when they truly earned something special. Most of the girls got some sort of Snickers, Reeces, or Kit Kat shake giving themselves an extra bonus of a candy bar along with their ice cream. Snacks on snacks on snacks. (Sweets were a rare treat because I’m a monster.)
One of the girls, however, always got strawberry. That’s it. A strawberry milkshake.
We always teased her for her lack of imagination or failure to try new things. With all the options of candy bars, brownies, chocolate, nuts and sauces… she chose strawberries.
Yes I teased the girls in my care, it’s good for them. (Or, further proof that I’m a monster)
Her answer to this harmless ribbing, “Strawberry is the best!”
Years later, when she was no longer a teenager and was wizened from college, I met up with her again to catch up. We started laughing about how absurdly huge the ice cream at our favorite shop were and how silly she was for always getting strawberry. That’s when she told me something that after all these years I’ve termed “Strawberry Ice Cream Facts”
She said that she believed strawberry was the best ice cream.
She said that although the other girls got different flavors she knew they knew strawberry was the best. She assumed they just wanted to try other kinds for variety. She thought they were crazy. She always chose strawberry because getting the shakes was a rare treat so why would she waste that opportunity settling for anything less than the best.
Strawberry ice cream is the best ice cream. This was a fact.
Eventually she learned the difference between fact and opinion, but the lesson has stayed with me.
I find that, GLOBALLY, even very educated people–or persons in important positions–aren’t very familiar with the difference between facts and opinions. It’s as if because they believe is to be true, it is true.
–Which is another a lesson I would teach the youth in my care. Feelings are not facts.–
Remember in the movie Inside Out when the boxes of facts and opinions got spilled?
I think this is a very real problem. Facts and opinions do seems so close to each other that it’s hard to know the difference without serious critical thinking. And some people just aren’t very familiar with critical thinking. –And then there are those with an agenda.–
For example there are some very important people in this world that try to convince us that “alternative facts” are a thing. That is not a thing. Just so we’re clear. There are facts. Then there are opinions. There is not option for alternative facts. Though I guess there is a third option…
Let us not get into that here; I’m trying to make a point about confusing facts and opinions.
Take another example of Strawberry Ice Cream Facts that has stuck with me throughout the years.
In High school my good friend Ken was on the wrestling team. Quite frequently he had a can of peaches as a little after workout snack. This was in the days before snack packs and pop-top cans so he brought a whole can and a can opener to school every day.
One day after wrestling practice we were chatting while he ate his can of peaches. He told me how canned peaches were the best canned fruit. I told him I preferred pears. I was known to eat a can of pears on many occasions.
He legitimately told me I was wrong. Canned peaches are the best.
“For you,” I told him, “But I think pears are the best.”
It went back and forth like this in the most ludicrous canned fruit argument I’ve ever had. What he did not seem to understand was that because he thought peaches were the best, that did not mean they actually were the best.
I don’t think there is a test that could be run to find the BEST canned fruit. I’m pretty sure this area is only opinion based. But then again, I’m not a scientist.
I have found this problem time and time again with religion, politics, having children, social heresy, etc. All of these things are opinions. And don’t even get me started on how I feel about the word sin.
“Sin” is an opinion word. Oh shit, now I’m started…
Lock it down, Savannah, this is not the time.
It’s my opinion that it is remarkable how many believe something so strongly that there is no other option than for their belief to be right. For everyone. And if it is right for everyone, it’s a fact. But I’m sorry. This is not how facts work.
Strawberry Ice Cream Facts: An opinion that is so strong, and feels so true, the believer is confused by the FACT that it is an opinion.
I challenge everyone to be a little more critical thinking about what truly constitutes a fact. Be aware of your Strawberry Ice Cream Facts, and be a little more open to other’s opinions.
Let’s get along a little more and worry about being right a little less.
Besides, everyone knows that mint chocolate chip is the best ice cream.
And that’s a fact.