On several occasions lately I have noticed how much my boys absorb from the world around them. How much they learn without me teaching.
For over a year now, Dale has played a silly little travel game his Aunt Kristin taught him. And anything learned from your 20-something aunt (or uncle, as it was in my case) is immediately cool and novel and worth remembering for the rest of your child-hood, if not your life, right? ;)
Anyway, the game goes like this: every time you see a yellow vehicle you shout "yogurt!" I suppose the point is to see who can spot each one first. Either way, Dale loves it and keeps an eye out for yellow cars (and orange, too.... "jello!") every time we are driving.
Guess what has happened over the course of the last few months? ALAN has learned to play.
Which simply means he recognizes the color yellow and a name for it.
Hello! Wake-up call! Time to be sure we're throwing around the names of some other colors! Although I'm still not sure whether to just leave 'yellow' as 'yogurt'. :)
And then there is Dale.
In addition to his regular Scripture memory, I like to have him memorize a poem every now and then.
A couple of months ago he learned "I Never Saw a Moor" by Emily Dickinson.
In the meantime, we read "Walking Through Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost. I ended up memorizing it and either reading it or saying it aloud here and there fairly often. I even posted it on my blog here.
Recently Dale recited "I Never Saw a Moor" for me, and I couldn't remember if he had learned anything before that one, so I asked him if he knew any other poems.
Instead of answering, he just started in:
"Whose woods these are I think I know....."
He could say almost the whole poem - 16 lines! - without hesitation.
I guess it isn't that he could do it that impressed me so much, but that he did it without me 'helping' or even knowing he was learning.
What a huge reminder of how MUCH kids absorb what's around them, and how capable their minds are!
Thinking on these things has left me with 2 thoughts:
1 - I want to intentionally expose our boys to as much as I can. No, they won't learn it all, but the exposure itself will do so much!
2 - I want to be sooooo careful about.... what we .... expose our boys to! They've both proven in very handy reminders (a gentle nudging from God, maybe?) how much they absorb without us even trying.
Isn't the mind of a child a fascinating thing?