Deconstructing Deconstructing

From my writing blog

Deconstructing Deconstructing.

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The Walking Dad

Originally posted on Blog 213:

On fields of play, parents often find themselves on the outside looking in.

On fields of play, parents often find themselves on the outside looking in.

“How many do you think I should do?”

“Ten,” my son tells me.

“I can’t do ten! Seven.”

“Eight.”

“Seven.”

“Eight,” he says. “Or nothing.”

I park in the grass next to the soccer field, open the mini-van door and let him out. He dashes to join a dozen other nine- and ten-year-olds who jump, whirr and kick.

Do I remember dashing? Was there a time when my legs ached to run? They feel so hesitant now, so timid.

There are twelve vehicles parked in a zig-zag line along the east end of the church field where YMCA Co-Ed Youth Soccer Team #85 practices once a week. All but two of the assembled cars, mini-vans and SUVs are occupied by adults, many of us are cuddling up with our smartphones or staring through the windshield at…

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Adventures With Kids – Questions That Need Answers

The Oldest boy asked me what’s the difference between a nerd and a geek?

I thought they were pretty much the same thing. Like a Christoper Lambert and Thomas Jane.

But no, there’s a difference. A big one.

And there’s no better way to explain it than with rap.

Seems clear now, right?

If not, let’s try this.

http://www.sparknotes.com/mindhut/2012/12/18/the-4-main-differences-between-geeks-and-nerds

Now, my question is, can you be both?

 

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Adventures With Kids – Schooling

Ok, so the boys are back in school. In my mind, they’re learning about Caesar, the Pythagorean Theorem and how to make cars from coconuts, but no. No. The school had other ideas.

graffitiThey learned how to do graffiti lettering.

Not cursive writing – that seems to have dropped off the planet like critical thinking or Paulie Shore.

Not typing (it still amazes me that this is not taught to a generation that is on a keyboard at the age of 5).

No.

They are being taught how to do letters like they were tagging a building. Who knows, maybe it’s a drive to make sure that if they’re graffiti-ing a brick wall , they’ll use correct grammar. Or at least it’ll look neat and tidy.

Now, it’s not a serious issue. Just kinda funny.

Then I heard that they had learned how to tattoo themselves.

Not something I expected to hear as an answer to ‘what did you do in school today?’

I have to say I’m a little afraid to ask now. What’s next, ‘we learned how to destroy evidence’ or ‘look mom, I now know how to defraud the government’? What is this, education by Charles Manson?

from eyecatchingtattoos.com

from eyecatchingtattoos.com

We live in interesting times. The Oldest has no idea who Winston Churchill is, but can apply a tattoo. Maybe next they’ll make a Churchill head out of lego. Or gummy bears. Or never be actually taught who he was and what he did.

Sigh.

I think I need a drink.

 

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Adventures With Kids – The Walk to School

Survivor

download

Is it really about survival?

So the oldest is interested in Survivor. “Why didn’t you tell me about this show?” He demands. “Why?”

Survival interests him. How would a whole bunch of strangers survive on an island? How would they overcome the challenges?

Hey, it’s the premise that sold the show 143 years ago.

We tried to tell him it was less about, you know, actual survival than people politics, forming alliances, betraying each other and ultimately kicking someone off the island. He didn’t care. He loved the idea of surviving on an island. Like I did when I was 11.

treasure islandOf course in my time it was Treasure Island and or Swiss Family Robinson, but the idea still holds magic. It’s really about being free, about going beyond parental care, about getting out into the world and testing yourself.

However, there are some differences from when I dreamed of surviving on an island.

Here is the conversation as best as I can recall (cuz it was like 8am and I have only half a brain working at that time.)

“So survivor isn’t really about surviving on an island, is it?” he asks.

“Nope.”

“They need to have to survive more.”

“It’s really a social game, not some up-gunned version of scout camp.”

“I want to watch a show where people actually have to survive.”

“Cool.”

“I’d even want to be on that show.”

I can’t honestly imagine him skinning a deer or eating leeches for lunch.“Really?”

“Well, it’d be a whole season cuz we would need a whole season to figure it all out and we would have to learn how to grow food and build a home and find stuff to mine and I’d be in charge of transportation and build a car.”

“Wait, what?  A car?”

“Sure. We’d all be assigned special tasks like there would be one person to make food and one person would dig a well and then one would be in charge of mining, and one person would be the electrician…”

“You’ve discovered how to generate electricity?”

electrician

I swear this looks like the last electrician who came by

“Not me, the electrician. Please listen.”

“Right, sorry. Go on.”

“We’d all have to work hard to make it, but if everyone did their job really well, we could totally survive.”

“And who would lead?”

“No one. We’d all do what we wanted to do and what we were good at.”

“So no one would assign daily tasks or figure out who was better at what or start taxing everyone else so they could build a bigger house just for themselves?”

“No. But I think building a car would be hard. I would need a book.”

gas

I think he made a nuclear reactor once

“And a refinery for the gas.”

“Maybe. The book would have to be really big. It would have to explain in detail how to do everything.”

“That’s one big ass book.”

“I’d read it though, and follow all the instructions and everyone would have their own book.”

“Makes sense.”

“And, of course, everyone would have had to have played Minecraft before.”

“Of course.”

“Cuz they’d have to know about mining and building houses and wood and farming and stuff.”

“And zombies.”

“Zombies aren’t real.”

“Right. Sorry. Minecraft. Everyone would have to have played it…”

And thus went the conversation for 20 minutes while we walked to school. I know I won’t get these moments forever. Soon he’ll want me to stop a block or two from school, then the very idea of me coming with him will fill him with horror, then he’ll be off on some island mining for gold and making a car.

So I treasure these moments, these walks-and-talks.

giligan

Back in my day, THIS was Survivor. Ah, shipwrecked on a desert island with Ginger and Mary-Anne.  Good times.

Sadly I tend to infect them with all kinds of reality (like “so how much food can 1 person harvest in a day?” or “does anyone on the island have a match? or “how did Gilligan make that radio, again?”), but that doesn’t mean I don’t love having the conversations and hearing how his mind works, about what excites his imagination.

Unless it’s pouring rain, then he’s on his own.

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Adventures With Kids – Schooling

A Perfect Day At School

minecraftIf the Oldest had his choice, he would have a totally different school morning. Not so much with the math and more with the Minecraft.

“So, Joe, it’s time to go to school.” In his world, this is governed by him.

“It’s like 4 in the afternoon!”

“Perfect. There won’t be anyone there to bother me.”

“I see your point. So, ah, what, the teacher just stays late for you?”

“Totes.”

“What?”

“Totes. Totally. Come on Joe, keep up.”

“Right. Sorry. So what are you going to learn today?”

“We’re going to watch videos of people playing minecraft.”

“Watch, err, people playing? Like tutorials or something?”

“No,” Heavy sigh. “We’ll watch people playing. Playing, Joe. Just playing.”

“Wait, let me get this straight. It’s fun to watch people playing, and not, you know, playing yourself?”

“Totes.”

“And this helps you learn?”

Shrugs. “No, I know everything about Minecraft.”

“So the purpose is…?”

“Better than trying to learn about how parliament works.”

“Fair enough. And then what? What, you know, crazy learning stuff will you do?”

“We’ll work on creating virtual reality.”

“Cuz, like real reality sucks so bad?”

“You got it.”

“How will you create virtual reality?”

“That’s up to the teacher.”

“So you’ll just kind of supervise him?”

“Yup. And watch poop videos.”

“Wait, what? No, I don’t even want to know.”

“Ready to go, Joe?”

“Ok, let’s strap on our jetpacks.”

I do get that school isn’t nearly as fun as playing games, watching videos, surfing online or pretending you’re a writer. At lot of things in life, well, actually MOST things, are just not that fun. However, they still have to get done.

And you know what, for all the Oldest’s dreams of being able to teleport directly to school, of classes being taught by Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory, or homework assignments consisting of racking up the high score on Mario Cart, he still gets up, gets dressed and heads off to school. 5 days a week. He does his homework, occasionally listens to something in class and manages to get pretty good grades.

So, he may not love school, it may not be what he dreams about, but he knows he has to do it… so he does his best.

Me thinks that’s about all we could ever ask of anyone.

 

 

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Adventures With Kids – School

Why Can’t I Live A Fantasy Life?

schoolReally the first day of school was today. Oh sure they went to school yesterday, but after a detailed interrogation of both boys, it seems like they pretty much sat in class, talked about what they did over the summer and then went to an assembly.

Not hard stuff.

Today, though, the real schooling began.

And the Oldest was not ready for it. I’m going to be walking him to school so he’ll know the route and feel a little safer. He used to get dropped off at daycare until they decided he was too old for that. So now he’s got a 20 min walk to do.

Here’s my fantasy of how this should have gone.

We’re getting ready to go. It’s 8:15.

schoolboyMe: “Good to go?”

Him: “Sir, yes, sir. I have my lunch packed, the lunch that I made myself last night. I have my backpack secured on my back. I have all my pencils sharpened and sorted by size.” (in my fantasy, they still use pencils for something.) “I also have my phone charged and in my pocket.” (And I have mine, so neither one of us has to run around shouting, where the heck did I put my phone, I had it only 2 minutes ago???)

Him: “We are good to go, sir.”

Me: “Outstanding! What’s the weather like outside?”

Heavy Downpour --- Image by © Anthony Redpath/CorbisHim: “Perfect, sir. It should be a lovely walk.” (Unlike today when it started to rain on me about half way there and I forgot my hood and an umbrella.)

Me: “Outstanding!” (in my fantasy world, everything is outstanding).

Him: “Shall we talk about history on way to school or would you like me to recite some Shakespeare?”

Me: “I think we’ll just jog.” (in my fantasy I’m in great shape).

Him: “Excellent suggestion, sir.”

Sadly, it didn’t turn out quite how I imagined. There was less Shakespeare and more Clash of Clans. There was less jogging and more shuffling of feet. I don’t even think I said ‘outstanding,” once, and where the Oldest had finally found his phone after 5 minutes of panicked looking, well, the less said the better.

However, I have begun to learn to readjust my expectations.

Fast!

My new expectations are as follows.

He has pants on.

He has food.

That’s it. Anything more is, as a hungry person once said, “gravy.”

And that may just be the secret to success. Set the bar so low that I get to put a win in the column if either of the boys remembers to wear shoes.

However, let’s look at this from another POV.

What would his fantasy day looked like?

I’ll have that tomorrow.

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