I was looking through some ten-year-old discussions, and this surfaced. It's an old story about someone I called "Joe," whose real name I have forgotten, so it's best if my kids (if they remember) don't tell me who it was. Mostly it's a story about my kids and my house, with "Joe" as the "light" that shone on it once so I could see it more clearly.
After the italics, it's me, in April 2002:
In a message dated 4/15/02 8:12:55 AM, rumpleteasermom@..... writes:
The one that confuses me is Wyndham. His taste is so . . . varied,
for lack of a better word. He can go from Cinderella to Die Hard to
Into the Woods to Operation Petticoat. There is no pattern I can see.
That's the way my kids are, for definite sure.
Holly usually doesn't like violence, and usually avoids it (I tend to wander out when the fistfights start) but she really liked Fight Club, for the personality stuff and the mystery of it. Marty and Kirby can join any tough guy discussion about John Wayne movies or Mad Max, but can also be heard singing to themselves from the Rogers and Hammerstein Cinderella OR the Disney. They were as glad to go to the theatre to see Mulan as they were to see The Matrix.
I think it's healthy and a GREAT way to "see the world" and connect all kinds of things, places, times, actors, literary forms, composers, dialects... Little Shop of Horrors (the musical, which they all know) is written by (and similar to in many aspects) the guys who did The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast (and in part, Aladdin, I think). They're conversant in a lot of comparison/contrast ways on those subjects.
One of my favorite things about my kids, and what makes unschooling easy with them, is that they're not cynical or critical about the interests of others in the family, or of the neighbors, or of their friends. They assume that everything has the potential to be interesting and good.
There is one mystery kid, though. Kirby has complained that except during D&D games, he seems to have nothing to say. He was here this weekend. He's sixteen and he does go to school. I'll call him Joe (because that's not his name). He was up waiting for several other houseguests or my boys to wake up. I offered him cereal if he didn't want to wait for waffles; he fixed some. He wandered downstairs. Holly was in the den, where maybe 100 bought videos are visible, and two gaming systems. We have a dog and a yard. We have books, games, and toys. He told Holly "This house is really boring in the morning."
If we hadn't been being quiet for sleeping people, I probably would have had music on, but we were being quiet.
I was amused, and repeated it to Kirby as I drove him to work. Kirby said "OH, Joe--Nobody even invited him! He just showed up. He's ALWAYS bored."
So Joe showed up again the next afternoon (having gone home a while), and I said "Hey, Joe--I heard you said our house is boring."
"Well, it was ten o'clock in the morning and nobody was up."
"We have all [description kinda like above] to do here."
[the back pedalling starts]: "Well I really like your house."
"Apparently a LOT of people do." (there were two other visitors in the room) "So don't be telling Holly her house is boring."
"Okay. Well, I didn't mean anything by it."
[And without even getting to the philosophical ideas of meaning and utterance and whether words spoken can be retracted or covered Kings-X style...]
I said (which made sense to him and the others more than it can here, but the statement was:) "When I had the former owner of Starbase 10 in full medieval costume with a hurdy gurdy, you didn't want to see THAT. I don't know WHAT will entertain you." There was enough polite laughter and facial/eye acknowledgement that indeed it probably WAS him, and touche.
Starbase 10 was the fantasy/gaming shop specializing in Star Trek which occupied the building before the previous owners and Active Imagination, where all these guys met and still hang out. The owner of Starbase 10, the first to establish that as a gaming store many years ago, was my husband's squire in the SCA before he was knighted, and one morning he was here in a GREAT full costume, having stopped on his way somewhere else to show me his new Romanian hurdy-gurdy, when Joe and his brother came downstairs. "Do you want to see a hurdy gurdy??" I asked enthusiastically.
They didn't even look at it, though they were in the same room! One of them mumbled, "Uh, we have to go."
My kids would have just been a little late and said "We're late, because there was this guy in a costume with a hurdy gurdy," and I would have said "I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND!"
So varied interests make life rich, and Joe's boredom is making him just... boring.
When I made grilled cheese sandwiches on home-made bread with some really good cheddar cheese, the other kids were saying "Oooh, good!" but Joe said, "If you had some tomato soup, these would be perfect."
His glass is more than half empty.
Back to now.
Sometimes it's hard to see what we have or what we know or are doing without an occasional contrasting reminder. In the time since April 2002 I have seen my kids continue to be open to and fascinated by the world around them.