I was thirty-eight years old when I finally got married, and by that age, as I'm sure you can imagine, I had some very distinct ideas about marriage, family life, and especially about children.
I specifically wanted to have children, and I wanted them for a very specific reason: In the course of all those years on my own, I had done (and not done) a lot of things; had learned a lot; had some accomplishments and some failings; made a lot of mistakes; and, at least in my own opinion, started to acquire some wisdom. I wanted to be able to pass what I had learned from all of that along to some other person, so they could have a head-start on life and be able to score all the gains without having to make the mistakes and pay the price in the process.
To this day, I still have no idea whether my motivation was utterly unique to me or absolutely normal for all parents, but I did find out that what I had wanted to do - to "inject" knowledge, wisdom, or even just the benefits of my own experience directly into the mind of another person was simply not possible.
For one thing, when children are newborn or very young, they simply don't have the language skills, the vocabulary, or the attention span to be able to understand most of what we might try to teach them. As they get a little older, their vocabulary expands - and sometimes even their ability or willingness to listen, but even if they know the words you say to them, they don't have the context or the experience to really be able to understand the meaning of their meaning. (Consider, for example, the word "wisdom" that I mentioned a little earlier; how can anyone possibly explain the difference between knowledge and wisdom to kids until those kids have some framework of their own to put that explanation into?)
It doesn't get any better when the kids approach puberty; when they get into high school, or even afterwards - by that point, they've started to have experience, knowledge and issues of their own and, to them, anything you might try to teach them will always - because nature will already have started the process of getting them out of your house and into a life of their own -- be seen as either irrelevant, passé, lame or, unless it's a provable matter of fact, outright wrong.
There IS hope, though, and the old saying "The older I get, the smarter my father gets" is the proof of it: Eventually most people will come around and start to recognize and take advantage of what they can learn from other people.
That's why I write: I still feel like, in half a century plus getting-to-be-nearly-another-half-of-that again, I've learned some worthwhile stuff - at least in the area of our hobby -- and I'd like to be able to communicate it to people who might be able to benefit from it and achieve their audio goals more easily, more cheaply, or with fewer stumbles along the way.
The problem, though, is that even now - even writing to an audience of audiophiles who are themselves picking up some years - it's still awfully hard to communicate: Altogether too many people seem to read what I've written the way they approach a conversation - listening only to hear when the other person has stopped speaking so they can insert comments of their own - and they seem to comment on what I've written without actually bothering either to read or to UNDERSTAND what I've said.
You know what I'm talking about; you've seen it yourselves, both in the actual responses to articles on these pages and in the comments posted about them in the groups to which they've been shared.