My four-year-old son has a lot to learn. Teamwork, self reliance, judgment and decision making, risk management, delayed gratification, initiative, critical thinking, loyalty, faith… the list of skills that’ll he need to make his way in the world goes on and on. It’s an overwhelming educational endeavor, before you even consider all the straight-up information that needs working into his skull. Arithmetic, the alphabet, the periodic table and the inherent interconnectedness of all things, where does a father even begin? It’d keep me up nights if he didn’t bring me down to earth every now and again.
“Whoa! Is that fish bleeding?” he says looking at photos from a day on the water with our friend Latane.
“Wow. That’s a great question,” answers Lat with a double-take. Also a dad, he recognizes the moment for what it is and grabs it. “That’s actually how that kind of fish got it’s name. Can you guess what it’s called?”
The micro-miracles of his curious little intellect are a great reminder that I don’t have to design and deliver the world’s grandest curriculum after all. A good thing too, because I couldn’t if I tried. I just need to keep him engaged with the right teachers – the worms and the hoppers, the pronghorn and the fish, the trail and berries – help him process some homework, then get out of the way.
And hell, the kid can already identify a cutthroat. What else does he really need?