Sunday, October 26, 2008

Little Miracles

One of the best things about having children is that through them, we get to see the world for the first time, and feel all those first blushes of wonder, over and over again.

I was reminded of that today. E and I took my three year old son Trixta (I'll be using their hip-hop nicknames for privacy's sake) and my six year old son Sno-cone for a walk up to the University of Victoria library where I had to photocopy an article (E's hip-hop nickname is Skinny Dip).

On the way there, Trixta - a very attentive little chap - noticed that there were no more blackberries on any of the bushes along the trail by our house.

"Where did all the blackberries go, Dad?".

"They're gone now" (ridiculous answer, I know).

"Where did they go?".

"Well, the blackberries stopped growing, and the ones that were there fell on to the ground, and...the birds probably ate them all".

Trixta stopped and investigated the bushes more carefully. I thought I could guess what he was thinking and feeling:

Why do blackberries just start growing all of a sudden, and then just stop growing all of a sudden? How does that work exactly? It seems all kind of strange...kind of mysterious...

And in that moment, I realized just how good those questions were. I didn't have any better idea than he had.

We finally got up to the library. I swore them all to silence and made Skinny Dip promise to not throw the rugby ball around inside (we'd brought it with us to play catch on the way up). We entered and made our way over to the photocopy machine. I didn't realize it, but neither Trixta nor Sno-cone had ever seen one in action. Both were entranced. They took turns pushing the big green button, and "oohed" and "aahed" every time a new sheet of paper popped out. ("WO. That's cool!")

And hearing all their questions about how the machine worked made me realize how little I myself knew about it. The best I could muster was, "it takes a quick photo of the piece of paper". That that was the extent of my knowledge left me, again, feeling quite a bit of wonder myself.

And now I am about to push the "send" button on this laptop computer; and the words I type here will magically float through the air, and - I guess - into an antennae, and through a wire, and into something called "cyberspace", and be instantly available to people all around the globe. And I have no idea how any of that works, either.

And I wonder just how much more, really, I understand about the world, than my kids...


Nicole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kholee said...

Hang on a second:P I'm in wonder over your mysteries, world, but all the same 'go to hell'. lol

I couldn't resist so my humble apologies. You're obviously wondering over different worlds altogether.

Obviously not knowing all about it doesn't always mean it isn't real. Interesting.

Anonymous said...

I love the way you think about the world Tal. It's making me really question my thoughts and what I think is right, since I think I'm a know-it-all teenage, when I don't know much about anything. Thank you for making me think.

~Jen~ said...

They're out of season! Don't over think it! haha No, have an amazing way of making us question things we typically wouldn't...keeps ya humble!

Your kids sound like great little humans.

Tal said...

Caitlin, email me.

wtf? I don't care who you are. said...

What's a 40 year old man doing soliciting a young girl to email him?

Anonymous said...

it's called sharing an opinion... who ever you are.

Anonymous said...

If he had any real business sharing an opinion with a minor, he wouldn't have had to solicit such on his blog and surely it wouldn't have been necessary to do so in private. Totally inappropriate. Period.

Tal said...


I get emails from tons of people every week, and have for years: little kids, old men, twenty-something students, teenagers, forty-something housewives, every type of person you can imagine. I like sharing ideas, and I do so with pretty much anyone who emails me. And throughout *public* discussions, I've often invited (all sorts of) people to email me directly, since sometimes it is difficult to chat about things in a public forum for reasons you yourself exemplify. I especially like to hear from people who are sort of philosophically inclined.

(That said, I wouldn't have invited the poster Caitlin to email me if her photo had been up when I did, since that does seem to make it more personal or possibly weird.)

In any case, anyone (not insane) here is welcome to email me if they want to chat more about something I've written here.

Anonymous said...

Who cares how many emails you get? I don't. What I find disturbing, as mentioned, is that you make a point to invite a young teenage girl to make an effort to email you. She didn't initiate it. You did.

You have no control over who just decides to write to you - yet you have a distinct personal responsibility for sending an invitation. It's right in her post that she's teenage.

You're a married man with 8 children and, quite frankly, you should know better.

If you're not their parent, their teacher, close relation or otherwise some tie of responsibility - it doesn't seem you really have any business speaking with a minor personally without parental consent and supervision. (because you ARE a 40 year old guy - and if someone like you - male or female - wanted to speak to my children can bet I'd have a problem with it..)

Greg Watson said...

anonymous, you are one twisted, perverse, and paranoid nutbar indeed. Get a grip on yourself. Stop believing the thrill seeking, fear mongering neo-con media and scare tactics press. Get out and about; learn the world; learn reality. Shame on you for being so ignorant of the world. Shame on you for making groundless accusations. Shame on you for hiding your head in the sand. Shame on you for assuming the worst. It's people like you who play such a large part in turning our world into a den of fear and hate. Shame on you.

the raving, salivating lunatic who doesn't adore T. said...

Let the witch burning begin. I questioned the great T. And despite the many assumptions you make here, Greg, I think that question is valid.

rachael said...

Bravo Greg, as I read anonymous's words, I was thinking those very thoughts, thank you for putting it so sweetly and succinctly.

It must suck to be anon, anyone who goes there instantly,..... gawd, I feel sorry for the bugger.

Anyway, I thought about it, and as a Mother (and a protective one at that), I can tell you that if the (public by the way, nothing hidden) ivitation to email, felt weird in any way, the hairs on the back of my neck would have stood on end, and they didn't.

I understood inherently what Tal was doing. I too would have reached out to Caitlin, to tell her how awesome it was that she was thinking and questioning the world around her as a young woman.

Sometimes kids need that one kind word from someone they respect, it helps guide them on thier way.

Greg is right anon, whatever your personal agenda may be, shame on you.

Pali Mama said...

Well, I kind of agree with anonymous on this one.

Anonymous, Tal did send me a couple of nice emails and he had some very helpful advice. However, it would be better to respond to any minor in a more public forum.

Tal, I think its better to be safe than sorry.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Pali Mama.You wouldn't want people to think you're looking for some young wives.LOL

iknowhowtoswim said...

By virtue of life experience you have a greater understanding of the world than your kids have of course, what I find interesting about children though, is that they ask different questions than we do.

They want to know about the stuff that we take for granted.

I recall going to the office with my Dad to print up some sports schedules. I completly loved helping him load the ink into the old fashioned printing press and I was fascinated with watching that thing work.

Your kids will remember this, and all the things you do with them.

Its nice you take the time to listen to them, your gift for that is seeing the world once again through their curious eyes.