Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of joining a family in Bowling Green for dinner.My partner, Charlie, and I were only required to bring dessert (which ended up being a cookie cake from Walmart and in no way was comparable to the wonderful chicken that was baked for dinner). We arrived to our host family’s home 15 minutes early and they, including their dogs, welcomed us with open arms.
The dinner was for four; me, Charlie, Alisa, and Allen. Alisa and Allen live in Bowling Green. They’re grandparents to one grandson (almost two). Alisa has family in Bowling Green and that is how they decided to settle down here to raise their family. Upon telling them I was from Maysville, KY and expecting to get puzzled glances, Allen asked what Maysville was called before it received its current name. I was clueless and he told me it was called Limestone.
Right after introductions and casualties, Allen dug into the heart of the conversation while Alisa finished cooking. I was slightly taken aback at first, but excited that our host family was eager to engage. We began by talking about our majors and future careers. I explained I am going to school to be a speech language pathologst and Charlie discussed how he hopes to be a diplomat. Prior to our KKT, I did not think mine and Charlie’s futures had much of an overlap, but Allen immediately showed me otherwise. Throughout dinner, both Allen and Alisa would ask us open ended questions like “What do we do about budget cuts to secondary education?” or “What do we do about gun control?” Allen ultimately would come back to one solution: better preschool-kindergarten education. This hits home for me because as a future SLP, I could have a position to be concerned with children’s speech and language delays which directly impacts their performance in the classroom. When thinking of the wicked problems Charlie would face as a diplomat, better quality education is the solution to a lot of the roots of those problems.
The most valuable lesson from this experience has been the importance of life-long learning. Alisa made a comment about this in response to discussing primary education. I have heard my whole life that my education does not end with a high school diploma, undergraduate diploma, or graduate diploma. But meeting this couple who started out as strangers to me and are continuously growing and changing to be better people- that is something altogether different. Both hosts were incredibly knowledgable on everything under the sun and I was in awe the whole meal. Initially, I was apprehensive to answer these broad questions in fear of sounding ignorant, but I found this dinner table to be a safe place to throw around solutions and opinions. In class, we discuss how every experience is a learning experience. We build our lives around what we gather from the world. In addition to answering our questions with an abidance of knowledge, our hosts told stories about their lives to support their claims.
When told about KKT in class, I was not ecstatic at the idea of spending an evening with strangers. I could not have been more surprised by my experience. We sat around the table long after we were finished with our cookie cake dessert and ended up spending three hours at our host family’s home. If I ever have the chance to do something like this again, I will take the opportunity to learn more about the citizens of Bowling Green.