|Photo credit John Tann (det)|
While weeding my garden beds this spring, I discovered a little
nettle plant in the path and pointed it out to my wife Rachel. Rachel
then decided it would be a good idea to point it out to our children, so
they would know what nettles look like and be able to avoid getting
I agreed, so we called the kids over and I got to play Dad the Science Lecturer, one of my favorite roles.
DAD THE SCIENCE LECTURER: “See this here, children? This is a nettle, known in Latin as Holicow datstings.”
CHILD #1: “Can you eat it?”
DAD THE SCIENCE LECTURER: “Yes, but don’t touch it! You have to cook it to disable the stings. It would hurt if you touched it now.”
CHILD #2: “I want to touch it!”
MOM: “No, darling – don’t touch it. They really, really sting!”
DAD THE SCIENCE LECTURER: “That’s right. Take a
closer look. See the little hairs on the leaves? They’re like needles –
like going to the doctor for a shot.”
CHILD #3: “I also want to touch it. It won’t hurt me.”
MOM: “Yes it will! Don’t touch it!”
DAD THE SCIENCE LECTURER: “You know, if you really
want to know why you shouldn’t touch it… maybe you should touch it, just
a little – for science – and you can see how bad it stings.”
MOM: “I don’t know if that’s a good…”
CHILD #4: “Look, I can touch it!” (touches it) “OWWWWWWW!!!”
DAD THE SCIENCE LECTURER: “There, now – that’s why you shouldn’t touch nettles! See?”
CHILD #1: (touching the nettle) “OWWWWW!!!”
MOM: “Look, Child #1… you saw Child #4 touch the nettles and get hurt… why did you touch it too?”
Your kids are priceless.
Some people just don't learn unless they do. This trait, in myself, is known to constantly, constantly annoy the people I'm married to. And sometimes the child. And then they get offended when I say something like, "Wow, this soup tastes AWFUL, you have to try it."
Experiential learning for the win!