Things Worth Observing
Let’s take a break from all the gloom and doom, shall we?
One of our readers—a follower on Instagram—posted this on her page:
There is a lot going on in our world right now. Our children can feel the shifts, they overhear our conversations, and now they can also see physical differences. All of that can feel a little scary for them, just like it is for us. But knowledge is power and right now, it can also be comfort. This is why we have a new addition to our weekly rhythm that our kiddos LOVE! Tuttle Twins Tuesday! The Tuttle Twins books are such a fun way to introduce and start discussions about big topics like government, rights, the economy, education, and so much more. This is reading like an ad, but we just love them! I know other families like ours will find them helpful right now. I mean… look at these faces—these books are beating legos and princesses for attention!
Of course I’m thrilled with this awesome endorsement of our series, and I definitely think Tuttle Twins Tuesday should be internationally observed (or at least enforced for members of Congress), but I love another point that this keyed-in mom makes.
Our kids are astute observers—and it’s up to us to help them understand what they’re seeing.
They are always watching us, and the world around them. They pick up on far more than a lot of adults give them credit for, so it’s up to us to pay attention to the way that they are observing the world and its happenings, and to give them the tools to understand and thrive in it.
Sure, right now is an especially important time to be sure that our kids are getting their questions answered and being helped to make sense of the changes they are seeing all around them—but shouldn’t we always be just as mindful of their ability to observe, and endeavor to place within their view the things that are worthy of observance?
It’s easy as “grown ups” to get caught up in the worries and cares of the grown up world and neglect to consider the way that our children are seeing us and the way we respond to them. Some might say that we should pretend that the world isn’t big and sometimes scary, and full of things that sometimes even discourage adults or leave them stumped for answers or solutions. But I don’t think that’s true. I think kids deserve to learn about the world, and have it explained to them in ways that make them feel empowered and prepared.
One of the criticisms I’ve seen on our social media ads usually goes something like this:
“Oh, good grief! Kids will have to learn all of this when they’re older! Why can’t you just LET THEM BE KIDS? Why would you want to teach kids about money and government?”
I’ll resist the urge to point out that someone with a disdain for knowledge of money, government, or economics probably developed those feelings because instead of learning about those things when they were young and entering adulthood with a healthy understanding, they were most likely at some point in early adulthood blindsided by the harsh reality that they did, in fact, not know how the world around them worked and found themselves woefully unprepared for, and later hostile toward it.
I guess I did a poor job at resisting the urge to point that out, didn’t I?
But it’s true.
Too often, people become afraid of, resentful of, or indifferent to, things that they don’t feel comfortable in their knowledge or understanding of. There is no other valid reason why people would find the idea of teaching children these principles offensive.
I’ve been asked many times why kids love these books so much? I mean—they really DO teach economics, civics, government, money, personal responsibility, self-reliance, and entrepreneurship. Those topics aren’t really known for being super-exciting. So why, like our friend over on Instagram said, would kids often choose to read our books over playing with LEGO or dressing up like princesses?
I think it’s a combination of a couple of things. First, kids like to be treated like they are competent and capable smaller versions of adults. They don’t like to be talked down to, or babied. Our books treat kids like they are perfectly able to understand these ideas. We don’t dumb them down. We don’t use patronizing baby-talk when explaining complex principles or ideas. Kids notice that, and they care about it.
I’d say another reason is that our books leave kids feeling empowered. The stories are engaging, the illustrations are superb (thanks Elijah!), but the overarching theme of each book is that of kids seeing the world around them for what it is, and learning how to use their own time, talents, and resources—with a little help from wise adults, sometimes—to make it a better place for themselves and those around them.
Kids naturally observe the world around them and they naturally want to do worthwhile things. I believe that as adults in stewardship of these impressive little minds, it is our job to give them worthwhile things to observe.
The Tuttle Twins and the Education Vacation teaches about the uniqueness of each individual child and how learning looks so different for everyone. Children may not all learn in the same fashion, but they are all, always, learning. We have a unique opportunity while they are young to impress upon them an excitement toward learning and an optimism of the world around them—or a fear of it.
My hope is that in a generation, there will be very few people who would remark that learning about money, government, and civics is an affront to childhood. I know that our books are making a big difference in the attitudes of kids (and parents) toward these important topics, and I am truly left in awe sometimes of the stream of positive emails, texts, and reviews that I see about our books. It’s humbling to be a part of.
In these unique and sometimes discouraging times, but also when life returns to normal, let’s make it even more of a priority to help our astute little observers find worthwhile things to cast their gaze upon, and let’s take extra care to help them feel empowered about their place in this world and their ability to make it better for themselves and those around them.