Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Don't dumb it down for me.

The other day Addy's uncle mentioned a story in the news about a green puppy. Addy asked how it became green, and he said it was born that way. A few minutes later he told the same story to my sister and she asked the same question. This time he explained in detail the theory that the placenta's greenish color rubbed off on the puppy's coat in the womb. Addy (age 5) asked, "Why didn't you just tell me that?"

Don't worry, Uncle Jeff. It happens all the time.

Kids are short, and we assume they can't understand. In the name of making information age-appropriate, we go too far and dumb it down. I'd say the entire philosophy that Bob and I share for educating our children is based on the idea that they can understand. Maybe they don't catch every detail, but we expose them to all the facts.

People are often surprised at the things that come out of Addy's mouth — that she knows moths are nocturnal while butterflies are diurnal, and so on. While we think she is bright, other kids are just as intelligent. The difference is that we bother to give her real information.

This morning Addy was still thinking about the story of Daniel in the lion's den, which I read to her from Egermeier's Bible Story Book last week (great book!). Addy wanted to know why when she has heard the story before in other books or at Sunday School, they simply say that the men were jealous of Daniel, when really there's a lot more to the story.

We had a good chance to discuss this idea of dumbing things down for kids. It really bothers her. While she hasn't verbalized it this way, it seems as if she feels she is being cheated out of information just because she is a kid.

Addy told me, "Someday when I grow up, if I am a teacher I'll tell my kids the whole, whole, whole story!"

1 comment:

Leah said...

It's pretty amazing what children can learn, especially if they are interested in it, isn't it? ;)