Wednesday, March 25th, 2009
Tell Your Kids: Everything is Amazing
My daughter and I have frequent conversations about time. It’s critical to her understanding and appreciation of the world. Here are the three types of time I’ve discussed with her since she was 3-years-old.
The Before Time — It encompasses all events that transpired before my daughter was born. We could be discussing Mom and Dad’s wedding or the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs. It’s all a big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff. In a word, amorphous.
The greatest challenge is explaining how old something is. Ten years might as well be 10 million to a toddler. Sometimes I can help her gauge age with a personal reference…
“Do you remember the music CDs we have? Well, when I was a kid, music was stored on a plastic rectangular object called a cassette. See this VCR cassette? A music cassette was very similar, but a lot smaller. It had a tape ribbon running inside it just like this VHS one. When Gramma and Grampa were kids, they listed to music on…”
[That conversation arose last week upon the demise of our VCR. We also had a discussion about DVDs and media we watch on our PC.]
Present Day — This is your embarkation point for discussing The Before Time. Today is boring. You need the past to put today in context… to appreciate it.
The Future — This is the stuff of guesstimates and dreams. For example, take automobiles…
“In The Before Time, people walked everywhere, then they road horses and bicycles and then built machines like trains and cars to carry themselves. They had to build railroad tracks and roads too, right?
Today we’re at the gas station filling our car. Did you know scientists and engineers are figuring out ways to build cars that don’t use gas? One day we may have a car with a big rechargeable battery inside. We’ll drive our car home and plug it in like it’s a lamp. Imagine that! Isn’t that amazing?”
[My message: today we have it pretty good, and with an educated future things will be even better.]
At this point my daughter suggested we take a photograph of the gas station so that her kids could see it one day and know what gas stations looked like and how we used them.
I was reminded of this when I saw the following clip of comedian Louis CK on the Late Night with Conan O’Brien TV show. He reminds us: everything is amazing.
See previously: Tell Your Kids: What You are Now, You are Not Forever