FYI, that Fair Trade study still comes up, as the kids are fond of researching the "grade" of companies that we patronize. We did that just last week, when Will urgently needed some new clothes (the kid grows something like an inch a month--she always urgently needs new clothes!), and Syd was in charge of figuring out the best store to shop in. We finally settled on H&M, although with much discussion about the fact that the store's C grade isn't great, and that really, if clothing is that cheap, there's probably something unethical going on somewhere down the line, because otherwise how could a person have been paid a living wage to make it?
I bet I've also mentioned before the fact that I LOATHE shopping!
This year, our troop gave an excellent presentation on China at the Girl Scout celebration. I was too distracted to take many photos, but each child was in charge of an informational display on some topic (Will covered the Girl Guides of Hong Kong, and Syd covered Mandarin), they took turns manning the activities (Mandarin writing on a Buddha board, stamping passports, and using chopsticks to transfer beans)--
--and they performed a version of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" with the animal names sung in Mandarin, and of course there were costumes. And a dragon that chased away the other animals at the end.
It. Was. MARVELOUS!
That work on the Geography Fair was actually enough for Syd, a Junior, to earn her World Thinking Day badge, but Will, a Cadette, had to do an additional activity to help her more deeply understand our privileged access to a connected society: she had to go an entire 24 hours without electronics, mwa-ha-ha!
The entire family, of course, joined her in her electronics fast out of solidarity (except that when the kids were at the library, I raced back home and snuck in some work on the computer--don't tell!), and I tried particularly to make it a fun experience for them. I wanted the kids to feel the loss of their screens somewhat, because I wanted them to understand that lack of access to technology isn't fair, but I also wanted them to understand that choosing to avoid access to technology also opens one up to enriching connections in other ways. So even though I did make them do school--
--we listened to records all day instead of CDs and Spotify, I got the kids (mostly Will, with Syd fluttering around and pretending like she was helping when she actually wasn't) to help me get a ton of tedious and tiring yardwork done, and we played a LOT of games:
|I was pleased to see that Will was drawn into games that she normally wouldn't be, such as these Story Cubes.|
|Timeline, however, is the favorite game of both of us.|
In our old house, this was a do-able feat, and often accomplished. In this house, however, with its vaulted ceilings tall enough to host an aerial silks rig...
Well, even Matt had trouble, even after we convinced him to stand on top of a dictionary on top of a bar stool:
"Stand on top of two dictionaries on top of the bar stool!" we encouraged him, as he protested that he did not want to do such a thing.
"What could possibly go wrong?" we countered.
Oh, just the inevitable...
"Connect" was this year's World Thinking Day theme, and it truly played out in this experience. It's easy, in the pattern of our days, to gradually disconnect from each other, to find ourselves spending our days with me working, Syd playing with her toys in the next room, Will on the couch reading, and our evenings eating take-away in front of a movie with Matt--it's together, yes, but it's not necessarily connected. Since then, however, I've made a conscious effort every day, several times a day, to take a break from my work and connect with each child. I've sat down on the floor and played more times in the past week than I have in the past month. I've initiated more games. I've offered more treats. And it's been wonderful, of course, especially to see a kid's face light up when I sit down next to her on the floor and say that yes, I absolutely want to build a new house for her village, and to eventually lure a kid who is sulking at having to sit at the dinner table into staying there long after her sister has left to tell us all about Skulduggery Pleasant and the arcane rules behind naming in his world, and to make fun of what I decided is my "taken" name--Panther Zephyrino.
Please call me Panther Zephyrino from now on, Friends, and do not use my given name to mind control me.