OPINION COLUMNS

Gaining an education from a preschooler

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, May 19, 2012

It’s almost graduation time. A time to wish our graduates well as they finish one chapter of life and begin another.

Brian Knox

Brian Knox

For me, it’s a time to think about starting school. No, not for me. I finished up my time in high school nearly 20 years ago.

My daughter will start kindergarten in the fall. That’s right – big school.

Last week, we registered Audree for kindergarten. I know people always say this, especially with their first child, but it’s hard to believe the day has come.

I have no doubt Audree will enjoy the learning aspect of school. Just in preschool, she’s already come home and enlightened me and my wife on a few things we didn’t know.

“Javelinas live in the desert and eat cactus,” Audree said.

Javelinas – I had heard of them, and I was pretty sure it was some type of hog. Probably the only reason I knew that much was because it is the mascot of one of the schools in my college’s athletic conference – Texas A&M Kingsville.

My wife, not known for following college sports, had no idea what a javelina was. So she turned to the most trusted source for information on the web (note the journalistic sarcasm) – Wikipedia.

Up popped a photo of a javelina, also known as a peccary or skunk pig. And what was its favorite thing to eat?

Prickly pear cacti.

One day I was watching a cartoon movie with my daughter when a part with dinosaurs came on. Like many kids, I went through my dinosaur fascination phase when I was younger, although I’m pretty sure I was already in elementary before I entered that time of my life.

As the different dinosaurs appeared on the screen, I took the opportunity to look deep into the recesses of my brain (which really aren’t that deep at all) and say the names of the dinosaurs.

“That’s a tyrannosaurus rex,” I said.

Her reaction wasn’t what I expected.

“Dad, I know that. I was going to say that!” she shouted

“That’s a triceratops,” I said.

“I know! I was going to say that!” was her reply.

This went on for a couple of more dinosaurs until I was pretty sure she shared the same amount of “terrible lizard” knowledge in her 5-year-old brain that I had amassed in all my years of schooling.

I love that Audree’s inquisitive. Sometimes she asks questions that are so sincere but still make me laugh.

“Daddy, why do we have legs?” she asked one day.

I’ve taken to writing down in a journal some of the funny, sweet or even profound words spoken by my daughter. The question above is the first one listed and always makes me smile when I read it. Most of the entries are humorous, such as “Marriage is silly. That word makes me laugh.”

But as most parents with young children know, every once in a while, a child will say something that will make you stop in your tracks. Usually it comes from looking at everyday events or items from a perspective we adults aren’t used to, and they often come across as very profound.

That was certainly the case when seemingly out of the blue, Audree said one night before bed, “Only diers go to heaven because God has better medicine than us.”

Out of the mouths of babes.

Audree will continue her education in “big school” this fall. But she won’t be the only one learning. My education will continue as well, I’m sure, through those words that can only be spoken from a child.

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