Turn knowledge into wisdom. This was the encouragement given to me early in the week and so here I am pondering what do I want to share? What do I have to share? As my mind races with little writing projects I’m working on, there’s a nudge as the evening goes on to just sit down and write about what’s on my mind in this moment.
Ironically, I’ve been brewing some ideas about weekly topics I can offer as I grow my writing presence and alas, I’ve landed here with “Weekday Wisdom.” I can’t say that each week it will be a certain niche, (parenting, teaching, mindfulness, yoga), but what I can offer is that it will be short, little tidbits of wisdom that might be helpful to others. It will also be wisdom that’s been passed down to me through my elders, other humans I’m connected with, and my life experiences. I hope the stories I share inspire you and bring us closer together as humans.
Weekday Wisdom: Learn with your kids.
This week my daughter’s class is focused on their Social Studies unit. She came to me yesterday and said, “Social Studies is hard.” Do we make it harder for kids to learn than it has to be? I don’t know about you but I loathed the history textbooks as a student. I never could relate, and I couldn’t memorize all those dates to save my life. Truth be told, I had to repeat American History in summer school all because I couldn’t memorize all the state capitals. I still don’t have them memorized! But I can Google that *&%$. That is, if I really need to know it. Which I haven’t come across anything in my life yet that has required me to recite all the state capitals. What I am fascinated with in history is people and their stories. Isn’t that what social studies is? Studying societies, studying the social parts of our society?
Tonight, as our daughter told us about a mischievous, little leprechaun who opened all the cabinets in her teacher’s kitchen on St. Patrick’s Day, I followed her lead with the questions: Who was St. Patrick? How did he become a Saint? What’s he known for? What’s a saint? Why do we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Did you know that your grandpa’s family is from Ireland?
This is when I started to think, ‘Gosh, I don’t even know the answers to all of these questions!’ As a kid, we always celebrated St. Patrick’s Day! My dad made his family’s famous corned beef and cabbage, he belonged to an organization called the Shamrock Club, that usually had a big, fancy dinner on St. Patrick’s Day, and my sister and I would argue over who got to wear that BIG plastic button that said, “Kiss Me, I’m Irish”.
So this evening when my girl asked me to play Barbies (again), I excitedly obliged and offered the storyline, “what if our Barbies are researchers?” My girl lit up and exclaimed, “Yeah, they could research St. Patrick’s Day!” We got down on the floor and found a new way to connect with the phone, each other, and our heritage.
I was Ken, she was the teenage Barbie. We used the kids’ safe search engine, www.kiddle.co, and “searched up” (as my daughter says) Saint Patrick’s Day Facts. I read them aloud to her in my best Ken voice! From there we proceeded to take a short, 5 minute video “field trip” if you will, to Ireland. For now, it will suffice until we can safely get on a plane to Ireland.
It wasn’t a fancy, pre-planned lesson. It was me and my girl. And the Barbies of course! Now, my daughter is interested in learning more about another culture. Her history. Our family. I learned more about this holiday than I ever learned in school.
So, for all of you parents who have felt lost and confused this school year, here’s my wisdom for you… you’re doing great! You’re learning with your kids and you’re connecting with them. It’s okay if you don’t know everything.
Until next week, keep playing and learning!
And if you’re in the mood to listen to some Irish music, check these out.