* NOTICE: Mr. Center's Wall is on indefinite hiatus. Got something to say about it? Click HERE and type.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wednesday's for Kids IV -- HIGH SCHOOL YEAR BOOKS

This is my high school yearbook, the annual Swirl of Dover High School, from 1994-95, the year I graduated (freshman through junior years are blessedly stored away at my parents' place two thousand miles away).  Amazing how embarrassing these pictures are despite the fact that I was without my clonky glasses, without the relatively new and totally pathetic pad of fat on my gut, and without the glistening bald spot at the crest of my scalp.  Aside from just the physical, I was more popular back then--had more friends, did more stuff, was altogether cooler (doesn't say much for me now!).  Yet despite the apparent descent my life's taken since my teens, I am pink with unease looking at these ridiculous pictures.  So, here, now, on The Wall, I show them to you not to confront my nerves or solicit sympathy or laughter, but to demonstrate, and here's why:

My kids love this crap!

And it's not just yearbooks.  Any old memorabilia--even receipts--seem to enthrall them, so long as they get the accompanying story.  This doesn't, I think, speak of nerdiness in my children, but of their interest in connecting with their parents' past.  I've got a sheaf of old newspaper articles, receipts, train tickets, fliers, and so on stuffed into a journal from my first year at BYU and my following two years in Italy, not to mention the scrap book my mom assembled from all the pictures I sent home during that time, and, once again, my kids love it.  All of it.

Look at it this way: what are the overall benefits of reading books with your kids (benefits to the kids, not you, I mean)?
  1. increased literacy and fluency;
  2. increased verbal and narrative skills;
  3. improved relationships, reader-to-listener;
  4. time away from the television;
  5. relief from sibling rivalries;
  6. bedtime tranquilizer;
  7. general mood improvement, both listener and reader; and (did I forget any?)
  8. maybe most importantly, the kids like it, which surely is why the previous seven even work at all.
So if these are the good that come from reading with your kids (and is there any bad?), maybe with slightly shifted results depending on the chosen book (Hamster Huey and Gooey Kablooie, Calvin's favorite bedtime story, from Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Waterson (though Waterson credits Mabel Syrup with the HHaGK authorship), is sure to boast fewer benefits than, say, The Sweet Pickles books I mentioned here a couple weeks ago (go ahead and argue the point)), and the fact that, at least for my kids, that final benefit is perhaps greater than with book about my wife and/or me than with any other book, why not suffer some minor embarrassment for their benefit?

After all, our comfort should have little if anything to do with their growth and pleasure, right? which, by the way, is a lesson I really need to do better at remembering, as I sit comfortably at my desk on a break from work far from kids and my poor wife who's sick and dealing with even sicker kids (darn flu season!).  What's a little pain in the back or neck?  What's a little time away from whatever it is that takes your time?  How important are your kids, after all?  But there is at least some minor remediation:

It was my father who discovered the available leverage to take full advantage of the labor potential of a full half dozen kids where regarded the otherwise slump of his physical comfort at story time: all six of us were obligated to take turns scratching his back while he read us our story; if we stopped, he stopped; the longer we scratched, the longer he read.  Good deal.  But he never showed us his old yearbooks, and even now I would LOVE to see those.


  1. This is great. I don't know if I even have my high school yearbooks anymore, and I graduated only a few years ago. Come to think of it, I never got my senior yearbook. They said that they were sending them the next year in order to catch things that happened in the spring semester, but I never received one. I feel cheated all of a sudden.

  2. Yes, you've been cheated! They don't count for much in the years after school (unless you're really in love with yourself and don't see much future for new and better accomplishments after the four years' of secondary victories), but further on they're funny and kind of exciting, because you forget things.


Be sure to subscribe to the thread to receive discussion updates.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...