Barducation

"It is a wise father that knows his own child.” ~William Shakespeare


Big K is discovering and loving Shakespeare. I’m so proud. Then again, this development does have a bit of an inevitability ring to it.

When he was a year old I returned to the college classroom in a desperate attempt to finish my university education. Obviously that didn’t happen. I could lay blame but, really, twelve years later… it just isn’t worth it. The important thing is that two of Big K’s major development years were spent with me in school. I also had a very necessary full time job. This didn’t leave me a lot of time to be with him so I had to maximize those moments. Hence, his bedtime tales and story time readings included generous amounts of Shakespeare, Chaucer, Shelley, and Wordsworth amidst Where the Wild Things Are, The Velveteen Rabbit, Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs while I made a desperate attempt to parent and finish homework simultaneously.

The presence of William Shakespeare has always been prominent in my home. The picture above is from my current bookshelf. This is just a sampling. There is more. There is also a raging DVD collection, a quote card game and a Shakespeare finger puppet who used to live on the refrigerator but currently reside at my office.

Five or so years ago I was able to obtain a DVD copy of Shakesepeare: The Animated Tales. Big K was eight or nine at the time, but we watched them together and, while he had a lot of questions, he seemed to enjoy it.

Last year he began inquiring about the aforementioned DVD collection. Could he watch Hamlet? What about Romeo and Juliet? What is A Midsummer Night’s Dream about? I waited a few months because I wanted him to start high school first as he will be reading Romeo and Juliet in class this year. I saw no harm in having him watch a movie version prior to reading the play. Perhaps it would give him a better understanding. He is a teen, so I put in the visually modernized yet relatively textually accurate version of Romeo + Juliet by Baz Luhrmann. I enabled the subtitles so Big K could see the words instead of just hearing them and... I know my kid is bright, but he didn’t need me to explain anything. Nothing. He simply gets it. My teen understands Shakespearean English.

It would seem that we are now immersed in a full fledged mother to son Barducation. It’s awesome. He’s yet to read Romeo and Juliet in school. I predict, once he does, that we venture into reading some of the other plays here at home as well. We’ve already started on the sonnets.

This, my friends, is one of those events that make me realize a couple of things:

1. Parenting can be most excellent.
2. I haven’t completely screwed up my children.

4 comments:

  1. I was put off Shakespeare at school. However I later became very keen on it and have now read about thirty of his plays.
    It's hard to believe one man could understand so much.

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  2. Methinks you either gets Shakes or you don't. I've always loved him, even while trying to figure out exactly what he was saying!

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  3. Rob ~ School can do that. I'm hoping my guidance will alleviate that problem.

    Finn ~ Thou speak'st aright.

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  4. beef had the samething. his exposer was classical music day in and out but it does not seem to have hurt him.

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"Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?" ~Walt Whitman

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