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