Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Kids and the World

I'm currently working five days a week as a babysitter for a seven year old boy. He's a really wonderful, intelligent kid, but sometimes it shocks me just how little he knows about anything beyond our little town. I'm sure that I used to be the same way, but it's still strange.

For example, he asked where I got my wallet, and I said that I bought it while I was studying in Jordan. I figured he didn't know where Jordan was, but I was really surprised that he didn't know where the Middle East was either. I get that that's a little specific, but I definitely knew where the Middle East was when I was that age. I used to have a sticker book with outline maps of the world, and I colored the Red Sea... red. With a colored pencil. But regardless, I knew where the Middle East was. I'm a pretty big geography geek though, so I'm probably not a good benchmark.

Talking to him just made me really grateful for opportunities for travel I had at such a young age. We never went in luxury vacations when I was a kid, but no matter how much I moaned about it then, it's nice to think of all the places I set up a tent when I was a kid - mostly national parks, but I still had that chance to go across the States traveling. He said that he had only been to California, which is wonderful, but it made me think about all the places I've been able to go to, and made me so thankful.

Finally, he was telling me about the second language he spoke. I got all excited, until he told me it was a burp language... Cute, but not exactly what I was hoping. I just realized that I've been able to speak two languages since I was twelve years old, and even though that makes it only five years, it feels like knowing a second language is a given for me. He's only seven, but it's strange to think that at that age, most kids, including myself, haven't started studying a foreign language. Would it do them any good? Maybe knowing a second language longer would make kids want to learn more about the world...

These are the things I think about as I do the dishes and clean this apartment while the kids sleep in their room. I love this job, but I have to say, I hope Barbie storybooks aren't a thing in swaziland :)

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