I remember the first time I turned on the Moody Science videos I had purchased from Vision Forum. For a moment I caught my breath.
They were old.
I was scared.
Scared my kids would hate them because they weren’t flashy. Scared they wouldn’t be able to handle real people doing real things. Scared my investment of the ENTIRE collection of Moody Science videos was going down the drain in a single cartoon-induced-brain-turned-to-mush moment.
Thirty minutes later, my fears were relieved.
They loved them!
They STILL love them!
It was then I realized something. I had trained their minds away from twaddle. My fear of having cartoon-crazed kiddos who couldn’t watch movies with real people in them was totally unfounded.
Not that all cartoons are bad,mind you, but I know a lot of kids who won’t watch anything that isn’t cartoons because the action is too slow. Their minds have been trained to only accept the bite-sized, fast-paced frames of action cartoons so readily give.
When my oldest was a little boy, his favorite book was a thick history text I had picked up at a library book sale. It was deep. It used big words. But his little mind had been trained to think big thoughts and enjoy the texture of big words, rather than the mush of watered-down one syllable grunts.
But, the key word here is TRAINED.
He didn’t just “happen” to like history tomes that read like college textbooks. My children didn’t just “happen” to enjoy the Moody Science videos in all their 1960’s splendor. Their brains had feasted on words and the real world long enough to know when they were being fed good stuff!
As I write up our curriculum for next year, I keep noticing there are books and topics I am putting into my soon-to-be 8th grade son’s assignment sheets that didn’t make it to my world until college or later. Even though I was a child who devoured books, my teachers never trained my mind away from the twaddle by offering me a steady diet of the good stuff. My parent’s evening and weekend attempts were not enough to fully counteract my one-size-fits-all education.
Perhaps you are wondering how one goes about training their little ones to feast on the good stuff? Here are some ideas to turn your child’s diet into one of vibrant, high-definition, vocabulary-rich goodness!
*Lead by example – My mom listened to classical music. All. The. Time. And then there were the operas on PBS. Yes, I watched opera. In fact, I didn’t just watch opera…I SANG opera! I would shut myself in my bedroom and howl away.
My mom was also a book-fanatic. I can still remember the oh-so-wonderful musty book smell of our local library. I loved it! My children have also grown up in the library. Just the other day we were checking out books when the librarian remarked about how nice it was to see children checking out BOOKS, rather than videos! I was astounded! But, our children see us read. All. The. Time. Why wouldn’t they think reading is a worthwhile pursuit?
But, I will tell you, my children are not allowed in the “Homework Section” of our local library and they are not allowed to get just any old book. The Homework Section is nothing but a teen magazine, comic book, witchcraft-filled, waste of time. And I want my children to always be stretching their minds so I try to make sure the books they choose fit the bill. No, my Kindergartner isn’t reading War and Peace, but I do try to follow the guidelines I’ve gleaned from books like Honey for A Child’s Heart.
*Read aloud – Reading to your child from good books teaches them to appreciate the sound of large, meaningful words. Again, use the suggestions from books like Honey for a Child’s Heart.
*Watch “REAL” movies – Wholesome television does not have to come in the form of animated characters. It can, but it doesn’t HAVE TO. Teach your children to appreciate old movies by watching old movies. (However, just because a movie is OLD, does not mean it will be appropriate–watch the movies together!) Many great movies and television programs from days gone by are collecting dust because our 25 Frames-Per-Second brains get bored easily. Videos like Moody Science don’t deserve to be cast aside simply because the special effects aren’t special enough.
*Avoid Internet-ease – I about fell over the other day when a woman I was sitting near told a story and then said, “But that’s probably TMI.” It is one thing to converse this way on the internet and via text messages, but when you train your brain to SPEAK this way IN REAL LIFE, you have just entered the TWADDLE ZONE. Don’t go there. Don’t let your children go there. If they are really steeped in that culture, they might roll their eyes at you when you ask them to speak in complete sentences, but hold fast! It will be worth it when they land a job that expects them to speak with real words.
*Never allow the words, “I’m Bored” – These 2 words are a sign that brains are turning to mush. When a child cannot find enjoyment from their everyday environment and start that incessant whine with these 2 words attached, you can be assured they have had too much “fast-food”entertainment. A twaddle-filled menu will quickly leave a child empty and wanting more. When they say, “I’m bored,” and then follow it up with a request for a certain thing to make them “un-bored,” you can be fairly certain that thing they want is the Twaddle Culprit. Wean them off of it and open up their world to the wonder-filled place it is!
Now, head to your local library, bookstore, online shoppe and fill your world with the Good Stuff!