Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Interrogation

The doorbell rang and both boys ran to the door.  I heard my oldest son practically squeal, "The guys are here to fix the smoke alarms!!!"  We let them in and after they brought all their gear in, the questions began.

"Hi, what's your name?" he asked them politely.
They told him their names were James and Mike.
"Oh.  Cool.  So did you know you are hear to repair the smoke alarms because they are overheating?" he asked them, barely able to catch his breath.

They did, of course, know the purpose of their visit but the questions did not stop there.  He wanted to know how many ladders they brought and if they brought a really tall one for our 22 foot cieling.  He wanted to know what kind of batteries their smoke alarms used and if he could see them.  He wanted to count how many they had brought and make sure they had the right amount.  He had counted them all a few days before.  The electricians were beyond kind to him.

"Usually smoke alarms only beep when there is smoke or they need batteries so why are ours beeping anyway?  Isn't that funky?" he asked them.
They laughed at his choice of words then confirmed that it was funky.  James, who had just had his first child five days before, answered him patiently, "Remember how you knew that they overheated?  That's why they are beeping."  

I looked up at from prepping for our school day and realized that he had not let them in past the doorway.  For five full minutes they had stood in our entry with their hands full while my son asked them questions.  I asked my son to come over so I could talk to him for a minute.  After a few whiney, "BUT WHY's" he made his way over.  

"You ask great questions," I began, "but it's also important to let the men get their work done.  You know how you feel when you're working on a tough workbook page and Drew keeps talking to you? It's kinda like that.  They need to concentrate to get it right."

He listened quietly with wide eyes then said, "Okay. Can I go ask them more questions now?"  

"No, you may not.  But let's make a list of every question you have and then, when they take a break, we can go down the list and make sure we get all the questions answered," I suggested.

He liked this plan.  We listed out his questions (most repeats from his first round - this kid is thorough) then set about a bit of school work.  Afterward we asked them his questions and, at the end of the day, I think he learned a lot more than he would have had I followed our normal lesson plans.  I understand now that part of homeschooling is creating a thirst for knowledge but another integral part is teaching them how to get it in a polite and unobtrusive way.  While I'm sure the electricians appreciated his passion, they had a job to do.  If I can teach my child to be polite and smart, I'll be in good shape.

We are constantly teaching manners, aren't we?  What's the one thing that's been the hardest to teach your kids?

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