Friday, October 5, 2007

Still Here - And Glad of It

Running in along the river today (13.1 in 1:26), I was again nearly overwhelmed with gratitude: I am here, I am alive, I am healthy, and all in my family are as well.

Are we programmed to be grateful? And to whom (or what)?

In any case: thank you. We must remember our dead, and remember the living. What else can we do?

On my run, I was thinking about water. When I was a boy, fun comprised playing War, making forts, playing walkie-talkie-hide-n-seek in the graveyard, that sort of thing. For thrill and adventure, I and my mates sometimes "snuck" into the town hall for a drink of water from a thin, fold-out paper cup, always expecting to be shoo-ed from the building.

Innocence. After decades of static childhood (really, was my 1970s childhood that different from that of the 1950s? Or '40s?), we now push and rush and prod and cajole these little worker-bees into adult-like stress and frenzy. Sheesh.

Funny (and true) story about my own lil geek-girls (aged 7 & 4, respectively):

So, the other day I heard Daughter B in the living room shouting "My eye! My eye!" I rushed in, ready to be furious:
"What happened?! What’s the matter?!" Daughter A was standing with a foam "noodle" (from swim class) in her hand; B, apparently, was inside a large cardboard box.
A said, "We’re just playing.
B added (from inside the box), "Yeah, we’re just playing. We’re playing Cyclops!"
A said, "She’s Polyphemus, I’m Odysseus."
B added, "Yeah, she’s Odysseus, I’m Polyphemus! And she just poked my eye out!"

For those of you a bit rusty, Polyphemus was a one-eyed giant outwitted (and out-eyed) by Odysseus and his men: Odysseus got Polyphemus drunk, poked out his eye, and then he and his men escaped their prison (Polyphemus' cave) by holding fast to the undersides of the theretofore penned-in sheep...

One other story/brag: Daughter B was being "tested" for full-day classes; the testing included a bit of reading (to make sure that she was up to speed with the class, which was mostly a little bit older). The teacher reported: "We read a book about butterflies, and the only trouble she had was with the word 'chrysalis' ."

Grateful--amazed and grateful.

On! On!


trip said...

Hey Bosh,

I enjoy your blog because you are going through the same life-cycle dilemmas/joys as myself, and you frame your points in a much more smarterer than I ever could.

I am curious how you reconcile your perceived desire not to push the kiddos with a 4 year old reading.

Reading is not something a very young child learns by watching others.

Anonymous Bosh said...

Hmm... good question. I guess because I do not view reading as "pushing," but as an essential pleasure (the other benefits are, really, secondary). Reading to my children has never been a chore: we have "reading positions," reading spots, trips to the library, books on tape (for the car)--we read (or listen) and discuss as a family. That they read is not a product of my saying "hey, read this!" Rather, eventually THEY wanted to read to ME (or, now, to each other). They see books for what they are: gateways to pleasure and knowledge. They understand that words help them (street signs, store signs, and, yes, toys and games INSIDE the stores...)

So, all I can say is that the EXPECTATION is there; indeed, it is so strong that it is *beyond* expectation, i.e., it is so basic as to be a given: reading. just. is.

Lastly: I put no (upward) restrictions on what they can read: if it is on the shelf at home or at the library, they can read it (this generally precludes, e.g., "Captain Underpants" or other detrimental things; also, when we listen to books together, we generallly choose "classics"; they choose nature books--dinosaurs, butterflies, spiders, etc.--all on their own).

Yah, they are pretty neat (sometimes "scary neat," even to me).

Anonymous Bosh said...

This morning, Daughter C woke up (she is a hoot!), wrapped her arms around my neck, and said "Pleesh reed me; pleesh reed me. Books. Books."

She just turned 2, but she begs, BEGS I tell you, to be read to...