Today on the way to school, the boys were watching “Hook.” When it was over I told them that when you see “Peter Pan” in a live theater, the kind with a stage and live actors, they usually cast the part of Peter Pan with a woman. “Why?” they asked.
“Well, I don’t know for sure but I think maybe because women are generally smaller and maybe it’s easier for them to twist and turn up in the air on the cables they use to make it look like they’re flying.”
At this, my fifth grader says, in a deeper voice than usual, kind of like he’s suddenly turned 25: “Yes, women probably do have more agility than men.”
Agility. He used the word “agility.” And he used it properly.
I said, “Whoa, Mr. Harvard-bound Son of Mine. How do you know the word ‘agility’?”
At this point, I am feeling so much better about the recent tuition hike at their school. I’m thinking it’s so worth it to send them to this school because my 11-year-old uses words like ‘agility’.
Then I hear these words that burst my sudden I-don’t-care-how-much-their-school-costs bliss. He says, “I learned it on the NFL Street game from PS2?”
“I’m sorry. What? You mean you learned it as you were reading “Treasure Island” or “Macbeth” or one of those other classics, right?”
“Uh, no Mom. I really do learn things from Playstation, you know. How do you think Luke knows everything about cars?”
“Yes, Luke’s repertoire of cars is quite impressive.”
“Yeah, because he loves that one game… something… something where he chooses different cars and their parts.”
So, maybe it’s not worth sending my children to this amazing school, after all. Maybe all they need to know can be learned on PS2. But just in case they do want to expand their vocab, I gave them each an incentive. I made up a fun little game for them. “If you can use the word ‘superfluous’ in a sentence today, I will give you a quarter.” You must report back to me how you said it and how the person reacted.
I’m anxious to hear what type of sentences they use. They may get it right. They may not. Whether they were excited to look brainy or to get that quarter, they were motivated. I could see it in their faces and hear it in their whispers as I caught each of them practicing their sentences as they exited the car… with such agility.