I have been reading the Laura Ingles Wilder series of books to Sweet G. His love of all things electronic hinders his ability to comprehend a life without modern inventions. I continue trying to paint a clear picture of pioneer America for him but frankly I don’t know if I will ever be successful. The very basic simple life pioneers lived is very foreign to someone living in the 21st century. It is hard to imagine life without electricity, phones (landlines and cells), stores within walking distance, or better yet Internet shopping and Fed Ex!
As I read to a child I often stop and ask questions to teach them good reading strategies. Last week we were reading the chapter Scream in the Night from Little House on the Prairie. The story was set in the log home of the Ingles family in the middle of the night. Everyone was suddenly awakened by a terrifying scream piercing the night air. Since the family was living in Indian country where there had been unrest at times they feared being attacked. The immediate thoughts of the parents was that their neighbors two miles away were being attacked or were in terrible trouble. Pa dressed and took his gun to go and find out what was happening. Ma told the girls to go to sleep and she got into bed but didn’t go back to sleep but lay there listening.
This is where I stopped reading and asked, “G, why do you think Ma went back to bed but didn’t go back to sleep?”
He thought for a second before saying, “Maybe she was watching a movie.”
“No, remember G they didn’t have electricity or a television. She wasn’t watching a movie.”
He thought some more and with a huge grin on his face he said, “Maybe she was playing a game.”
“Now, G, who would play games in the middle of the night? Ma was not playing a game”, I said.
“Well you play games in the middle of the night. Maybe Ma was playing Fruit Ninja like you do.”
I have to say that although he was totally off base in his answer, his reasoning behind it was great! He simply related his answer to what he already knows. He lives in a world where Ma plays games in the middle of the night and takes naps in the middle of the day. Gadgets and gizmos fill his world until it is busting at the seams and he just can’t quiet imagine a life without those things. Needless to say we still have some serious work before we have history mastered. So, I guess I will just keep trying to convince my funny little boy there was once a life without stand-up comedians, cable television, and iPad games for Moms to play in the middle of the night. ; )