There are things you know on a theoretical basis, they are like a background, just part of your general view of the world. But sometimes, the reality of them hits you in an instant. I just had one of these moments.
Husband and I were sitting in the kitchen and enjoying the laziness of a Saturday morning. We had just finished breakfast, but lingered on, with a last cup of tea and the morning paper. Entrance Older Boy, telling us about some science news he heard – the theory how the moon used to be a part of Earth and was “born” when another planet hit Earth. As we talked about it, the word “isotopes” fell and needed to be explained. When I got up from the table, Husband and Older Boy were bent over a picture of the periodic table. I left the kitchen smiling.
And then the thoughts came: How fortunate we are. I mean, between Husband and me, we got the world pretty much covered. At least the world that needs to be explained to children up to teenage level. Very cliché, Husband will do better with mathematical and scientific topics (although I am not a complete loser in that area either), while I can provide a lot of info about things like literature, history and art (and fairness commands to add that Husband does know his share here too). Issues of current politics and society we try to do together.
My point is: our children can come to us with their questions. We are fortunate enough to have the knowledge and the urge to explain, to show and to teach. What we do not know (loads of things, of course), we can look up in an instant. In this house, ordinary homework often sparks discussions growing wider and wider circles.
But how many children are left alone with their questions? How many, if they don’t understand what they read in their school books, can only ask their teacher (which does not mean that asking your teacher is a bad thing!)? Even in our privileged world I can sometimes see it in the homework projects other children bring to school. You can tell it where the parents are involved and where the children plod on their own. (Not that I mean the parents should do their kids homework, or even help too much. But you can see in which families the whole project was discussed broadly, ideas shared, alternatives offered. You just see it.)
I am happy and grateful we have the means and the time to do this. I love to explain the world to my kids. But today I am also very aware that we are living in a bubble. I love my bubble – but oh would it be wonderful to let it expand over the whole world.