Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Baby's First Astronomy Lecture

When BJ found out, earlier this week, that a world renowned astronomer was going to be speaking at a nearby college, he thought he might attend the lecture. It sounded like it would be pretty image-intensive, so I said, "Why don't you try taking Mary Grace?"

He agreed, and so last night while I was telling you all about my spray tan, BJ and MG were gettin' schooled.

I wish I had been there to see the looks on peoples' faces when they walked in. What's a three year old doing at an astronomy lecture??

But BJ reports that she was really good. She stayed quiet, and listened, and even made astute observations. The lecturer showed a sprial galaxy, and Mary Grace whispered, "Look, Daddy, it's spinning!" They do spin. How cool is she?

Apparenlty a guy a few rows up coughed, and Mary Grace shushed him. BJ explained that it was ok to cough. Then a few more people coughed, and MG whispered, "Daddy, all these people are sick!" Ha ha!

One of the things we're really doing right, as parents, (if I do say so myself...) is challenging our kids to behave in non-kid settings (restaurants, concerts, lectures, airplanes) and exposing them to our interests early. They never cease to impress us with their behavior.

Let's make October "Take Your Kid Somewhere Grown Up" Month! I challenge each of you to find an activity in your area - whether it's a lecture or a movie or a restaurant or whatever, and take your kids. Give them an opportunity to amaze you. Expose them to something new, something that you love. After all, we're raising future adults, here, right? Not people who are going to be kids forever. Then come back and tell me how it goes.

And who knows, maybe in 25 years, Mary Grace will be the world-famous astronomer (or astrophysisist, or rocket scientist like her Daddy) and she'll go to Wabash to speak, and she'll say, "I attended my first astronomy lecture here... when I was three!"

Never forget - you are their first teacher!


RobMonroe said...

That's so cool! I can't wait until Abby is old enough to shush someone. :o)

Heather said...

How, oh HOW, do you contain the kid when she turns into a squirrel-monkey?

I'm pretty sure she'd be okay in a movie theater, not that we've tried yet, but in restaurants we have a very flexible definition of "good". We've never been glared at by anyone, but she's not a mini-adult sitting primly in her booster seat, either.

Amy said...


You explain the behavior you expect before the fact, and you use positive language ("Sit quietly in your seat," not "Don't talk!"). You tell them that there's a reward for good behavior (ice cream on the way home, etc.). You leave if they flip out, then you explain (positively) what they did wrong. You explain that you know it was a new situation, and maybe they weren't quite ready, but we'll try again soon. You give them a chance to prove you wrong... Otherwise, how will you know when they can?

A. would surprise you, I just know it.

Oh, and giving them suckers while they're watching the show, etc. helps too, because then they have something to do with their mouths besides talk!! :)


Heather @ Not a DIY Life said...

I totally agree that we are our kids' first teachers! How are they going to learn what is expected of them in a grown up world if we never take them there?

I can't wait to take Ladybug to a lecture!

Jeana said...

I think this is a fabulous idea, provided everyone follows your advice on teaching them how to behave and removing the kids if they're being disruptive.

Pipe cleaners are a great quiet thing to keep little hands busy--we use them in church sometimes. I wouldn't start out with them, but they can be a distraction if it's going down hill.

jenny said...


I couldn't agree with you more!
I have taken Levi to several shows at Purdue Loeb house, the free shows performed at the Long center; put on by the Purdue orchestra. At Lilly nature center, they have what's called, "Wednesday's in the Wild," and they just had a rock and fossil study with lecture. Levi did great sitting there listening, picking up the rocks and observing. I think because we homeschool,and particularly, I homeschool a teen, he has had no other choice for these past three years but to attend functions meant for older kids. They will surprise you if given the chance, and training is a big part of that. You are so right, in that, you have to expose them to many of these types of settings.
Keep up the great work,

Jenny H.