So Halloween was another unprecedented success. I'm still amazed by how much the Ubergoober has blossomed in his *special class*. This year he went trick-or-treating with his very good friend Ry and Ry's brother and the brother's good friend. Goober was an angry bird. Ry was Venom? I think. The black Spider Man. Goober said it was Venom and he seems to know these things, so I'm bowing to his superior knowledge.
Anyway... trick-or-treating with friends. It was pretty cool. Especially because even though most of them are in the *special class* (in their respective grades, of course) they are still pretty normal kids. They run, they laugh, they tease each other, they have secret handshakes and they just pretty much do the things that kids do.
Except the friend. He was a little... well, not as normal. But he's not in the *special class* so maybe he is more normal than the others and my perspective is screwed up? I'm not sure.
I think maybe it was the dad. See, the kid is a "prodigy" in chess. And maybe he is, but the dad is obsessed with his kid's prowess in the game and talks ad nauseum about how his kid plays grand masters and his ranking in the state and there's really just nowhere for him to go anymore because he's exhausted all his potential. And also? Chess is the best thing you can do for your kid because it teaches logic and not just regular logic but this special logic that increases IQ and every kid should play chess and his kid's IQ is off the charts. Chess this, chess that.
And all I can think after a half hour of talking to this guy is how he's exhausted all of my patience.
Goober plays chess. He's not great, but he's also 8 years old. He'll learn. He plays with his friends and he loses sometimes and he wins sometimes, but that's okay. You have to lose sometimes to get perspective. And the Goober is pretty smart. He's got some great logic skills. And this year he joined his school's chess team. I don't care if he wins a tournament, but I do care that he's having fun and making new (and really geeky) friends.
See, I agree that chess is a good thing. But so is music, which is why Goober is taking flute lessons. So are sports, which is why he does archery and whatever sports come up in school. And so is reading, which is why we spend a lot of time looking at books. And art and history and space, which is why we go to museums and watch a lot of Nova. Oh, and being outdoors and knowing how to find your way through the woods and how to survive should there ever be a zombie apocalypse.
For me, it's like that village. It's not just a variety of people that help our kids become better people, it's a variety of experiences. I want Goober to try a bunch of things now and get good at a bunch of things so that he has an idea where his strengths lie. And also because chess helps kids learn logic, music helps kids learn math and books help kids develop creativity.
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I should be pushing the Goober to be a flute prodigy, forcing him to practice an hour each day and listening only to James Galway. Or a physics prodigy where all we study is quantum mechanics and *shudder* calculus.
But then he would miss out on all the other wonderful things in life. Like watching "Star Trek" and nights out in the treehouse with Daddy stalking unsuspecting wildlife with bows and arrows.
Yeah... maybe it's okay.