It doesn’t take long for life to remind me why I love being a teacher – especially when I’m spending time with our 12-year-old grandson, Phoenix.
After all his birthday celebrations, it was time for Phoenix to get back into reality and that meant getting down to finishing his homework.
Phoenix had to come up with thirty research points on two potential Science projects and I was the one to sit down and brainstorm with him. My daughter asked me, “Mom, you’re the Science teacher so could you do some Science with him? Thanks.” (I do believe that she was quite relieved that she didn’t have to supervise this part of the assignment)
Phoenix decided on the following ideas:
1. magnetic linear accelerators
2. fingerprints and genetics
I suggested that we begin with the more difficult concept so we began talking about magnetic linear accelerators. To be honest, I didn’t know much about this topic so I was quite intrigued with Phoenix’s knowledge and ability to explain the concept. He is naturally curious and an avid reader so it didn’t take him long to find about 5-10 interesting details – but he needed 30 points.
Nana to the rescue.
As we researched deeper, it was absolutely delightful to watch Phoenix become more and more excited about the possibility of building a Rube Goldberg machine, based on magnetic chain reactions. Phoenix was also over-the-top enthused about the fact that Rube Goldberg wrote a 1930 movie called, Soup to Nuts, which starred two of the original Three Stooges characters! (He and his Papak enjoy watching The Three Stooges on TV) Phoenix was very impressed that Goldberg was a cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer AND inventor.
“Nana, I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed doing homework so much! Thanks for helping me. Guess what? I was also picked to take part in a special extracurricular Math Club at my school! It’s really fun too!
How awesome to watch a young boy be so motivated to learn.
After finishing his homework, Phoenix wanted to read a new book that he got for his birthday so the two of us snuggled into his bed and cracked open The Boy in the Striped Pajamas – a young adult novel about the Holocaust. We spent the first twenty minutes discussing the book cover and the unique sketches on many of the pages. We then began to discuss the context of the story. This is a well written, and compelling novel but there are critics who say that the main character’s viewpoint trivializes this tragic era. Phoenix wanted to talk about the Holocaust so although this wouldn’t have been my choice for bedtime discussion, that’s what we talked about – and then we prayed together.
Such an evening of learning for us – research, questions, curiosity, excitement, humour, discovery, reflection, emotion, empathy, spiritual application, prayer.
These are good moments. These are moments to remember and cherish.
Is life not full of opportunities for learning love? Every man and woman every day has a thousand of them. The world is not a playground; it is a schoolroom. Life is not a holiday, but an education. And the one eternal lesson for us all is how better we can love. Henry Drummond