Yesterday I took my 2nd grader to the local Library. He needed to pick up a book about Rachel Carson for a school project. He has two weeks to make a poster-report on a person who did something important to change the world.
He came home with a list of people to choose from that included: Neil Armstrong, Susan B. Anthony, George Washington Carver, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Edison & Tecumseh, as well as Ms. Carson. My son chose to do his research on Rachael Carson because I thought she would be a good subject.
A Premier Environmentalist
Rachel Carson wrote a book, Silent Spring which help draw attention to our environment being poisoned by the mis-use of pesticides and led to the formation of the EPA. While I never read this book, I remember as a young child, seeing Silent Spring on my parent's book shelf. I was excited to help gather information with my son.
A Trip to The Library
Usually my husband takes the boys to the library but I decided I need to start reading more and had put a few books on reserve for myself. When we reached the Library, I spent the whole time trying to keep up my my 7 year old. He was a whirling dervish of activity. By the time I went to the reserve area to find my books, my son already had them pulled.
Note to self: Must go to library more often so I can keep up with the rest of my family.
Why Not Neil Armstrong?
Shortly after we had returned back home, my husband asked me why I pushed Rachel Carson on my son. I explained that I thought Colin's interest in birds and nature made this a good fit.
Hubby:"Why not Neil Armstrong?"
Me: "Why, Neil Armstrong?"
Hubby: "Colin is into the stars and astronomy"
Me: "What's wrong with Rachel Carson?"
Hubby: "Your son doesn't know who she is and only picked her because you told him to"
Me: "Mmmmm. I better talk to Colin....."
I had a quick chat with my baby to make sure I didn't force him into a topic he didn't really want to learn about. I made sure he knew he could change to another person of influence and I would still be happy to help him. Colin was fine with our original subject.
As we started to read through the biography I could see a lot of common threads.
Rachel as a young girl loved to be out in nature and observe birds and wildlife in their natural habitat. My son loves to look for fossils and when he was 5 years old, memorized a bird guide that I had brought home. We would go for "bird walks" and he would try to identify all the birds we would see.
I remember as a young girl how my mother used to love to help me with projects. (At times a bit too helpful and I had to get her to back off). I am now trying to do the same with my kids (hopefully without the pushy part). I find I am learning right along with them. The trick is to make sure I am only helping to provide guidance and to let them do the work. (even if it is not as polished as I would like).
I realized how much of an influence I have on the choices my kids make. But, they also have had been a good influence on me as well. Going through school the second time around had made me smarter and a better person!