Comedian and podcaster Marc Maron has stated on several occasions his belief in the importance of an older sibling so that each of us can discover “good” music.
(NOTE: I wholeheartedly agree – though some must look elsewhere when their older sister is obsessed with Celine Dion and ballad-era-only Chicago.)
But the same concept applies to books.
So that is why it is really to the credit of my older child (10) that my younger child (6) has been following me around the house this afternoon spouting information at me like some sort of pint-sized quiz show host.
It seems his sister handed him a copy of Weird But True and now every 60-90 seconds I hear him yell across the house: “DAAAAAD!” followed by any and all of the following:
“Did you know that when you see the color red, your heart beats faster?”
“Did you know dolphins might be smarter than chimpanzees?”
“Did you know many astronauts crave Tabasco sauce when in space?!”
It’s hilarious and inspiring and some of these “facts” seem suspect (Tabasco sauce? What?).
But here are some take-aways:
Learning is exciting
My son is really jazzed up about what basically equivocates to bar trivia. But it is new, exciting, interesting and at his fingertips. We live at a time in which we are OVERLOADED with information. We take our access for granted. Carve out time on the daily to spend just a few minutes learning something random: baseball stats, the price of dairy, the names of paintings… anything. Just think of something you want to know and look it up.
You are who you read (with)
We tell our kids often that is essential they look out for each other in all ways. Yeah, they need to make sure the other is safe, but I also want them to make sure the other doesn’t turn out to be an idiot.
Surround yourself with friends that love to learn and then ask them what they are reading. If someone tells me “This is my favorite book of all time!” I instantly get intrigued and take it as a challenge. When something has made a positive impact on someone I care about, I need to know the what, when, how and why. Ask three friends for book recommendations and commit to trying out these reads. Even if you find them to be terrible stories, you will have a new connection point and probably a deeper understanding of this person.
Spread the word(s)
Learning is infectious. When you find out something cool, it’s hard not to tell others. I apologized to my brother recently after saying “I just read this book/article/thing…” for the fourth time in a conversation. But the key is not to spout facts to sound smart, but to add to the discourse. Or – in the case of my kid – start the discourse.
And once you have someone else talking, there is more learning to do. So the start the cycle over.