Friday, May 30, 2008

Why kids often rule

There's nothing like a couple of rad, almost five year olds (Luke informed me he's 4 & 11/12 today) to bring you out of a funk.

Today I learned the kids thumbs up/thumbs down moment of the day... a pretty cinchy way to get them to talk about their day, which is usually like pulling teeth. I've asked them to give a thumbs up/thumbs down before, which they latched onto pretty quickly, but today they pretty much started the whole thing on their own. I might have asked "How was your day" (Why we do this to ourselves, I don't know, because it never really works!) and they both showed one thumb up & one down. So I just asked what made the thumbs up and what made the thumbs down.

They got pretty specific right off the bat, "So and so talked mean" followed by the whole ordeal. Weather they were really thinking about that story when they put their thumb down, we'll never know, but it seemed to excite them somehow and open them up for further questioning.

I'm really interested in this strong desire we have as grownups/parents/caretakers/what have yous to know what happens in our child's day. "What did you do today" is the type of question we ask other grownups, not really expecting the real answer: "Oh, I got up early because my husband was snoring, so I made some coffee and then the cat puked. I cleaned it up and then...." When we ask this of a child, we often just want to know where they sat, who they played with or what they drew, but from our own example, these things are trivial and we get the answer "Nothing," instead, or even better, the complete ignore! We need to ask better questions, right?

I find that kids are incredibly eager to talk about almost everything. All it takes is the right key, an "in," if you will. Once the door is opened...gosh, the light that is shed on their world! It's so fun! That's what I would want to study more in school, the ways and methods to ask better questions. Does that make me want to be a child therapist???

Well, the best from today was not so much the daily tasks, but the delightful political discussion. I went like this:

Luke: I'm half British, half Jewish. My Mom is Jewish and my dad is British.
Eleanor: "Me too."
Luke: Your mom's British? And Ken is Jewish, right Eleanor?
For some reason the kids are really into calling Ken, Ken, even Eleanor. I seam to hear his name a lot. Mom's are always "your mom" and Luke's dad is always "pop" or your "pop."
Luke: I think that once the British were fighting the Jewish.
Me: Really?
Luke: It was the Revolution.
Me: Oh, I think your thinking of the Revolutionary War, when the British were fighting the Americans.
Luke: Oh, yeah, that's right. Why were they fighting?
Me: Scrambling to make sense I said something about how the Americans had fled England to find freedom and the British did not want us to have that freedom. They wanted to control the country.
Luke: Who won?
Me: We did.
Luke: That's good.
I think there was a little more exchange about The United States here before Eleanor entered.
Eleanor: Speaking of Presidents, I think Barack Obama is going to win.
Yeah, "speaking of" is a big one this days. Kind of amazing.
Luke: Well Hilliary Clinton is dropping out, so you can vote for her anymore.
Eleanor: I voted for Barack Obama.
Me: So you think he's going to win?
Luke: No body's voting for John McCain!
Me: (Playing devils advocate of course) Well somebody had to vote for him or he wouldn't be running!

I think then we arrived at the playground and our political discourse quickly morphed into thoughts of rainbow ices and swings.


Michelle said...

I used to use "What was the Best Part of the day and what was the Worst Part of the day as a way to get them talkin'. They always seemed to fill in everything in between:)

Kj said...

that political discourse is unbelievable! Oh, NYC kids, I miss you, and then again, you're all so much smarter than me already...