Saturday, April 01, 2006

Stretching Those Mental Muscles While Playing on the Swingset

I was on the outer edges of an interesting sort of discussion today in the backyard, involving my kids and the little girl from next door. The topics ranged from "the elements" (Hana started by telling me that she was learning the names of all the atoms, but then we decided that they were elements), to the Big Bang, stars, black holes, and the earth's core, to the gods of Indian and ancient Egyptian mythology. The only elements Hana seemed to know the names of were helium and hydrogen, but she was still way ahead of T., who has never heard of any of them. He wanted to know if she was learning Japanese elements (her mom is Japanese), and if there were also Christian elements, since those would be the ones he would learn.* I told him that they were multi-national and non-denominational, and the conversation moved on to what would happen to you if you dug down to the earth's core (burning up to a bloody pulp being the popular concensus). Then Hana explained to us about the Big Bang, and how there was this one big star that exploded, and then it turned into a black hole, and then, maybe, it got angry and started sucking up all the other stars. T. allowed as how he'd learned a little about that stuff, but I could tell that Hana's version was much more interesting than my presentations. From there, we jumped to gods, Hana's favorite god being a blue, elephant headed god named Ganesha, which, she told me, was all elephant, all human, and all blue**, which left me feeling like one of the Irish pagans when St. Patrick explained about the Trinity, before he whipped out the shamrock. We also talked about some of the Egyptian gods, with which T. was a little more familiar. I was pretty impressed by how many names of Egyptian and Indian gods she knew, but I do think that a familiarity with some Bible stories would also stand her in good stead as she gets older and starts reading literature. I find it so interesting to talk with other people's kids and find out what they are learning.

* T. does not actually relate all topics to religion, or nationality. Since Hana's family are not Christians, we have had the discussion several times about how different families have different beliefs, and, not having any idea what elements were, I guess he thought they might relate to one of her family's beliefs. Given the extreme weakness of my knowledge of chemistry, I have to say that it sure would be easier if we could write if off with a "Well, we don't believe in that!"

**I googled Ganesha tonight, and he appears to me to have the body of a human (with a lot of arms) and the head of an elephant. In the picture I found, he did not appear blue. I think the business of being fully elephant, etc., etc. is probably just a bit of confusion.

1 comment:

Dy said...

Kids are so funny, and cool. I love to hear their discussions.