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The Boy Teacher and the Father Student 16 (Science and I Don't Know)
A Blank Slate
Walking with a young boy on the way home from school changes at some point. And that change can be amazing or totally frustrating. I think there has probably never been a parent who has not gotten this response; “Son what did you do in school today?” “Nothing”. “Well what did you learn?” “Nothing”. And this can be as aggravating as it gets.
We are speaking of today. We walk about 1 mile or a little less from his school to our home. A highlight of both our days I think. It is very fun and usually filled with stories and questions back and forth. We start with a great question.
B: Chaddy, do all reasonable things have a reason?
F: Sorry but that is silly, obviously if it is reasonable it has a reason.
B: Do all things that happen have a reason?
F: Yes or maybe no. It would seem so but maybe not. What do you think?
B: I learned the word random today for math. If numbers can be random I think other things can be too.
F: Wait a second, you learned random in math in second grade?
B: It was like a game to pick a number for no reason.
F: That is really cool.
B: Dad I know you know that a bunch of crows is called a murder but I learned today that a bunch of parrots are called a herd.
F: That is interesting.
B: Geese have two names; when they are on the ground they are a gaggle but when they are flying they are team.
F: I knew about the gaggle but team is new to me.
B: Did you know you could cut a head off a cockroach and it will still live because it breathes through it’s sides?
F: I don’t buy that one. Because the juice would run out of it.
B: Oh I didn’t think of that. Do bugs have blood?
F: I don’t know if you call it blood. Some other name I think, something with an “imph”.
B: Look at that really cool rose. Do they really grow black roses like in the cartoons?
F: I don’t know, maybe they just paint them or something about putting them in black water.
B: I thought you knew everything.
F: Son I have already forgotten more stuff than you will ever know.
B: That is impossible.
Just a Cool Song That Fits Here
Very Heavy Stuff. Perhaps a Result of an Undisciplined Mind?
We pause here to relate a true story. So our boy here is a top notch student. One of those kids in class that excels in all categories or subject matters. Please do not take this wrong but through his mother he has that stereotypical Asian student ethic. Doing poorly would bring dishonor on his mom.
So they have this large math test. (did you know that they now incorporate money problems in those tests, I guess it makes cents ;-) The boy’s desk mate is cheating and copying the boy’s answers. The boy does not object. Instead he intentionally writes three wrong answers and then acts like he is done. Of course the cheater is done so he gets up and turns in the test. Meanwhile our boy erases the wrong answers and puts in the right ones and then turns it in. Our boy got 100 and the cheater got below 90.
That just cracks me all up.
So the walk continues and the subject changes into a very interesting concept that I doubt is ever going to be resolved in my life time. The weekend before the boy went to a movie with his big sister called “A Wrinkle in Time”. It seemed to me that the boy was doing a pretty good job of explaining it to me and then came the questions.
B: Dad can time really have wrinkles?
F: What do you mean by that?
B: You know, mom irons my shirt all flat and then it gets a wrinkle in it.
F: Oh so you want to know if time is flat or already wrinkled?
B: I think that is kind of funny because clocks are round. So shouldn’t time go in a circle?
F: Never thought of that. Kind of like the earth being round and we are on it so time must be a circle.
B: Yea and like it takes so long for math class but recess goes so fast, and I know they are both one half hour.
F: This just may be too deep for us to discuss it will give us a headache.
B: No really, can time stop and go?
F: There was this really really smart man named Albert Einstein and he said something like; “If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.” So all I can do is ask about it like you.
B: OK, so do you think time is flat?
F: This may sound goofy but I think time might be more like a wavy line. Like you were saying, sometimes it goes fast and sometimes slow.
B: But the clock does not go fast and then slow.
Don't Stop Your Mind From Wandering
Time in Meditation Gardens
Freedom to Think Creates Thinking
F: Let me just say that I don’t know and let’s think of something normal. And remind me to talk to your sister about what movies she takes you to. I thought that was a kid’s movie not a science movie. No eight year old should be should really be thinking literally about wrinkles. I have enough wrinkles on my face and you just gave me another one. Hmm maybe that is why the call them “time lines”.
Finally we reach home. The trimmed up tree across the street where all the birds hang out bothered him. “But what about the birds?” “listen, they are still there”. “That is not what I mean dad, I mean that now it will be easier for the predators to get them”.
Do me a favor son and go play in the backyard for a while so your poor old dad can try to relax his brain.
Let us address an issue that should be bothering you. “No eight year old talks like that about things like that!!” And here you would be stereotypically correct. But this need not be the case. To my mind there are 3 essentials that will free a young child’s mind to expand at an early age.
- Spiritual discussion and teaching. This is just so essential. The idea that there are things that are not solid and touchable or seeable but truly exist. Of course my favorite is love. But for sure discussing the concept of a trinity opens all the doors to that which is seen yet unseen. (note I say discussing it and not commanding it or even teaching it.
- Imagination time. As my son must read each night and do some math and any homework he also must play by himself for a half hour a day after school, outside. Fully free of rules of thought fully unguided, no restrictions to where his mind may take him. We even have a tacit agreement that I will not watch him.
- Start early. Surely the flower is beautiful, but it has parts like stamen and a pistil. The rock or the shell are really cool, but what type are they. (Do not worry they are still beautiful)
This takes time and sometimes we do not have it. God bless you all.