There is a video circulating on the web of two preschool children arguing over whether it is raining or sprinkling. One child says their mom said it was raining while the other child's mother said it was sprinkling. They go back and forth for some time defending what their mom said. Eventually one begins to poke the other and for some reason this is supposed to be cute. I disagree.
No, its not the cutest argument ever. In fact it reveals one of the biggest problems in our culture today. We are so absorbed in media that we have disconnected ourselves from the very children that are in front of us. Whenever they do something cute we think we need to immediately run and grab a camera for all the world to see rather than actually interacting with them. I find myself falling trap to that very thing. This blog started as a way to share ideas on how to teach children with special needs, especially in a homeschool environment. However, if you want to have readers you need an active blog so I have included posts about non-related fun stuff we do. I still try to have an educational focus and the field trips and events do show how my daughter is being included in society, but there are many times that I lost precious moments with her because I had to stop and grab the camera.
The fact that the argument was recorded was not, however, the reason it was not adorable. The reason I make that statement is because the argument was unnecessary and I find it truly sad that the person taking the video failed to point that out. These are teachable moments. The ones we grab to explain what words mean and how we should use them. Please do not wait until these children get into elementary school to do that. Teach them now! It appears to me that this was taken by a caregiver of some kind. There were more kids in the picture and it looked like they were in a play room. If this were my child's caretaker I would fire them. Letting an argument escalate in order to capture some cute video is irresponsible. I would hope they are not paid for that level of care.
Instead of teaching the child that both mothers were correct and there are many wonderful words that we can use to describe the rain, they taught the children the meaning in life is to get attention. Arguing and poking one an another is acceptable if you are cute while you are doing it. They are going to be stunned when they get in trouble for doing the same thing later when it doesn't seem as cute or it is in front of a person that isn't obsessed with media attention.
Children learn more in moments like these than they will in any classroom. That is why schools have a hard time teaching students. To disconnect education from application is to raise an illiterate and socially inept society. Don't believe me. Look around you, because that is pretty much what we have.
I am as guilty as any mom about wanting to capture those cute moments to cherish them forever, and there is nothing really wrong doing it from time to time. Those memories will be good to look back on. But watch yourself, lest you fall prey to the lie that being cute on film is more important than anything else. I am so proud of Gess and her accomplishments but I don't want to simply capture those moments for the future. I want to live in those moments too and I can't do that with my head glued behind the lens of the camera.
Engage with your children. Teach them when they are wrong. Correct them and when two arguing children are both right, let them know that! Proudly tell them that both of their mother's were correct! Share with them many words they can use for rain. Go outside and feel it and let them think of other words to use. Draw pictures of it and let them choose which title they prefer. Is it sprinkle, rain, shower, mist, drizzle, or some other descriptive word? Gess likes the more specific weather term of precipitation. That can work too. Let the adorable moments in your child's life be when they are learning, not when they are foolishly arguing. Yes, the kids in the video were cute. I grant you that much. I just wonder what they will be like when they become adults.