Friday, June 12, 2009

Freaky Friday: Its not always necessary to point it out

A couple days ago we were running deliveries around the state for my mom's pet food business. I really like this day of the month because it takes me about 90 minutes south to a lovely and simple farming community where I can breathe easier and smile a lot. This, dear blogging buddies, is where "my peeps" live.

The couple customers/families we deliver to there are so very lovely - I do enjoy spending time talking with them. Both are homeschooling families; one a die hard unschooler, the other conservative christian, classical method. The kids all run and play together while the adults have rip roaring wonderful and respectful discussions.

On this particular recent delivery day, Iggy and Ooky were tearing around the yard with the conservative Christian family's two boys (ages 9 and 11, I think) and after some time, I told them it was time to go. Iggy and Ooky loaded into the van and grabbed their Leapsters, getting ready for the 90 minute ride home. The adults were still saying goodbyes, and so the other two boys were kind of leaning into the van, watching Iggy and Ooky. This is how the conversation went:
Other Two: What game is that?
Ooky: Its Spongebob.
Other Two: Oh.
Ooky: Its for my Leapster. What kind of Leapster games do you have?
Other Two: None.
Ooky: Oh.
Other Two: We don't really have games like that.
Ooky: Oh.
Other Two: We do have Legos, though.
Ooky: I like Legos...
Other Two: But I guess Legos isn't really a game.
Then it was time to go.

I thought about this after. A few months ago I would have probably spent a lot of time talking about the ways the other family is different from us in some sort of effort to "open their eyes to the different culture"...or something like that. Talking about the conservative Christian aspect, how they don't have a tv or Leapsters,the girls all wear dresses, why they live the way they live, etc., and blah blah blah. But for some reason, in that moment while we were pulling out of the driveway, it just didn't seem important. Because from what I had gathered, my boys didn't think it was weird that the Other Two didn't have Leapsters, and the Other Two didn't think it neccessary to assert why they didn't have them. Both sets of kids were pretty much like this is the way I live, and it didn't go any farther than that. No judgement. No explanation. No nothing. Movin' on.

Sometimes I think we as adults can mess this part up. Making too much of something before we even need to. Because I really think that if I had gone into pointing out the differences between our two famililies in a totally innocent attempt to "educate the kids on cultural differences", there would have been something different about how they played next time we were together. Dare I say that pointing out the other families differences may have let that unspoken freakiness factor creep in? You would hope it wouldn't...but one never knows. Even if the discussion about their differences was surrounded by different is ok, sometimes pointing the differences out can make things afterwards weird.

I mean, really. Its obvious the kids don't much care. Why ruin a good thing?


mamak said...

Yes! I have been refraining a lot from "teachable moments" Unless asked. It is so much better. When my kids actually want to hear an in depth observation on something, they are very interested in the subject, and WANT to know. Only then is it useful and pertinent info. I love the fact that on this path. we too grow, and learn everyday.

Stephanie said...

Good for you to be so tuned in at that moment that you were able to do that!
You're right - we can prejudice them without meaning to, altering something that stands well on its own.

MamaTea said...

MamaK - you're right. The information is probably more useful if they are asking for it and at a point where they are interested in hearing about it. I've been thinking a lot about skipping over some of those otherwise teachable moments since writing this post...especially if it seems the teachable part of the moment isn't really furthering anything along. And you're also right...we are learning right along with them. I LOVE that.

MamaTea said...

Stephanie - "altering something that stands well on its own". Exactly. Well said. Now if I could just get other people around me to figure that out...