Moonlight Exposition

When I was young, my parents spent a great deal of effort teaching me things. I gravitated toward random trivia and facts. My theory is that this was due in part to the fact that my mother was a science fiction fan (specifically a Trekkie), which caused me to happen onto all sorts of various bits of knowledge. This was stuff that I could out-smart the other kids in class with, so I held onto it. I was the geeky kid who knew the names of all the dinosaurs, and could name all of the comic book characters in the educational comics that the teachers handed out to teach us to not do drugs.

When I was in the second grade, our teacher was teaching a unit on astronomy. Now, I remember precious little about the second grade, and what I do remember is embarrassing, but I fondly remember that day, because the teacher was talking about the moon. I raised my hand and proudly offered my bit of knowledge: the moon doesn’t glow on it’s own, I claimed. It glows because it’s reflecting the sun’s light from the other side of the globe.

The other children scoffed at this outlandish idea. And then the teacher vindicated me, proclaiming that I was correct.

I really like that memory.
Last week, I was unloading our daughter from the car upon arriving home for the evening. It was just dark out, and she pointed up to the sky and, with her (amazingly, profoundly, ridiculously) advanced verbal skills, began to describe to me how the full moon was glowing. And, so, I began explaining to her how it was reflecting the sun’s light from the other side of the globe.
Now, I hold absolutely no misconception that our two-year-old will have learned anything about astronomy that night. After all, night still happens “because the sun has gone to bed.” And those sorts of poetic explanations are far more important right now than any concrete, scientific facts. I loved seeing the world through her eyes in that moment, though…experiencing her wonder as she observes the things that I take for granted. It forces me to notice things again…things to which I had long ago grown de-sensitized. I enjoy explaining these sorts of things to her…the unique and the mundane, but especially the unique…because it’s more about building the habit of doing so at this point, I think.
When I was in the fifth grade (I think this was in the fifth grade), concluding my elementary school career, I remember reading a mystery for a class reading assignment. The teacher asked us to process clues in the story, and come to conclusions about how the crime had been committed. I offered that the glass from the broken window was laying outside the home, and thus someone hadn’t broken the window in, but rather it had been broken from the outside.
Yeah…my geekiness manifested early…
That was another one of those proud moments when I was vindicated by the teacher’s affirmation. I want a lot of those in our daughter’s life, and I think that they begin with Karen and I exposing her to random pieces of knowledge. That knowledge builds on itself. The way that the moon glows is just the beginning.
A very important beginning.
And I’m so privileged to get to share it.

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