Friday, July 02, 2021

Canada Day and Benjamin Day

We're reading Apple: Skin to the Core by Eric Gansworth together right now, so we've been talking about residential schools and related traumas since the beginning of June in conjunction with Gansworth's book. It's been so interesting for me to be watching this horror be uncovered from the States, which is currently up in arms against teaching critical race theory, because my Canadian friends—both conservatives and liberals—mostly seem to be (1) aghast that this atrocity was covered up for so long and that they (we) were never taught about it in schools and (2) eager to make change happen. 
My friend's mom, who I assume identifies as a conservative (because all the politicians whose pages she's liked on facebook are conservative, but, honestly we don't have the same sort of party worship that seems so prevalent in the states so sometimes people's politics are hard to pin down), said that she attributes so much of this cultural blindness to accidental racism, or "being racist but not realizing your ideas, beliefs aren’t correct. I am learning a lot about that lately. I assumed things that either weren’t true or are true because of the horrible, long lasting effects of the mistreatment at residential schools, snd other ways indigenous people have been treated like second hand citizens. Hearing lots of stories snd really rethinking. My beliefs. My faith in lots of people has been shaken. My desire to learn more and do better is my goal now."

I'm trying to imagine a conservative from her generation speak that way about, for example, the BLM movement in the United States's frankly hard to imagine. 

Anyway, my point is that it's been beautiful to watch all my Canadian friends and family being united in their outrage against a crime against humanity. It really, truly rekindled a small bit of trust in our society for me. I just wish that I saw that everywhere.

We also had poutine for dinner,'s Canada Day. And that was about the bulk of our celebration this year. I imagine our celebration for Independence Day will be equally festive.

Today was also monumental because Benjamin finally succeeded in learning to tie his shoes! He...doesn't actually have any shoes with laces, but he wants shoes with laces, and after several years of attempting to learn how to tie, he's finally got it! Zoë also learned how to tie her shoes today and announced that from here on out she's only wearing things with bows. 

Good luck to her with that because I don't know how many things with bows she owns.

Today was also monumental because, among other things, Benjamin decided he wants to be an Olympic swimmer. We went to the pool and he swam 500 metres! This child, who I could barely get to finish one length of the pool, swam twenty lengths. He did stop for a few rests, but I was surprised that he (1) finished his goal of swimming 500 metres and (2) improved his stroke so much while he was doing it. I mean, improvement comes with practice, I know, but he went from having a terrible breathing pattern to...having a regular breathing pattern. It was amazing. He'd stop and chat with me every 100 metres or so and I'd give him tips, like, "Your arms and legs shouldn't be moving together. You have a good rhythm going with your arms, but your legs should be going a million miles an hour—flutter kick, remember?" And he'd go work on that. And then we worked on rolling to breathe. And then...

He looked like a swim team kid by the end there.

When he finished he was at once positive that if he'd done what he just did in the Olympics he'd get a gold medal (for sure) and wasn't sure he'd even qualify for the Olympics because he did have to stop to take a few rests. 

I told him that everyone has to start somewhere and that there's never been a nine-year-old swimmer in the Olympics, so he was doing just fine. He pointed out that even if he doesn't ever make it to the Olympics, it would probably be good for a future park ranger to know how to swim really well. And, I honestly can't see how that would be a bad thing for a park ranger to know.

When we were driving home from the pool he asked to be let out so that he could run home and when he got home he hopped on his bike and went for a little ride so that he could "complete [his] triathlon."

He has also been learning to rollerblade and figured out long multiplication by himself this morning after I "just-a-minute-d" him while I was helping one of his sister with something. Of course, he learned it the Beast Academy way, which makes so much more sense. He's already pretty quick with multiplication of complex numbers because of how he learned how to multiply (and, in fact, I often challenge myself to multiply complex numbers (as in, like, double, triple digits) in my head now because since I learned it the Beast Academy way I'm much more proficient at it, too), but the Beast Academy method of long multiplication makes way more sense than how Andrew and I were taught in school (we were taught the same way). 

It's not even that different, but because of the way it was explained (or never explained), it always felt a little magical rather than obviously numerical. The way Benjamin learned makes so much sense. And I'm glad he figured out how to do it on his own (we've really been pushing independent work for him the past month we've been "back" in school). 

Anyway, it was a good Canada Day and a good Benjamin Day!

1 comment:

  1. Hurray for Benjamin!! What a great day of learning and growing!