It was a pretty fun morning for my son today. He loves it when all three of us (he, mom, dad) are home together. His dad worked from home until lunch time and totally coincidentally, I'm sure, the first official game of the 2010 World Cup Soccer championship just so happened to be playing on the television. As usual, the boy was drawn to the TV like a magnet once the sound of sports is in the air. Y'all know the sound: a steady stream of horns, screaming fans with their indeterminable chants and sports announcers screaming above it all. If I never hear that sound ever again, I'd be happy, but It's like a beacon to my son. Whenever my husband tunes in to sports, my son drops whatever he might be holding at the moment, freezes and stares off into space for a moment to make sure his ears aren't deceiving him and the moment he's sure that sports are on, he wastes no time running for his spot right on dad's lap in front of the big flat screen. So that was the scene in our house this morning...along with my husband stealing glances at his work laptop, jumping up every now and then to kick the ball back and forth and into our mini soccer goal with the boy, and all the other requisite sports fan sounds and gestures you sports fans make while watching a game.
When my son got hungry enough, he finally sat down for breakfast. As he was eating, he paused and looked up at me. Then he asked the most unexpected question of me. He asked, "Mama? What's Africa?" Since the World Cup is taking place in South Africa this year, he must have heard the word repeated enough times for it to stick. It was such a loaded question, that all I could come up with at that moment was, "Papa, Africa is a place." But I wasn't finished. Mentally, I was already planning my follow-up for our conversation time later. I was excited about the question for two reasons that should be obvious enough that I don't even have to say, but just in case you're not with me already on this, here are the reasons: 1. Hello? My black American/West Indian son just asked me about the frickin' land of our ancestors! And 2. My 2 year-old has asked about a place. He doesn't know it's a place yet, but still. What a teaching opportunity! We have talked about his dad's country and he recognizes the flag and all, but those are things we introduced to him. He never asked about them. The fact that he asked about Africa means he's curious about the word. So of course now, I get to introduce globes and maps and books and puzzles, because he's obviously ripe for his first real lesson in geography, right? And what better place to start than Africa? South Africa. And I think we'll start with the flag.
My son's first lessons in Geography will begin in Africa. Where everything else began. For that reason, I totally dig World Cup Soccer 2010. And I will follow it along with the males who live in this house with me, just to teach Zack the flags of the countries represented in each game. Again, what an awesome teaching opportunity?! See?! I knew sports were good for something.
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