Henry: This nickel says 1996 on it.
Noah: That means it was mint in 1996, Henry.
Henry: Who's the president on there again?
Noah: Thomas Jefferson.
Henry: Is he the one that whipped up the Constitution?
Noah: No, he's the one that helped write the Declaration of Independence, but I think he was able to revise the Constitution.
Henry: What's the Declaration of Independence?
Noah: Well, it's basically a statement that the colonies wanted to be free from English rule, and when they heard that, a war broke out.
I imagine Jefferson sitting in his office, putting the finishing touches on the Declaration of Independence, while Ben Franklin asks impatiently, "Do you have that whipped up yet? I'd like to fly my kite before the storm hits."
I don't think it happened that way, but it makes history seem a little more interesting.
We reached our destination, so the conversation changed, likely to something about Weird Al Yankovic, parts of a cell (the human body, not the phone), weather, or the Iowa Hawkeyes. There's a lot of non-fiction in our lives. My boys love facts. I'm glad they are fact seekers.
This morning Noah told me Albert Einstein couldn't tie his shoes, and his brain was larger than most when it was examined. Henry told me ear wax prevents viruses. And did I know the Lego figurine of Abraham Lincoln is carrying a copy of the Gettysburg Address? I do now.
Today after school Henry talked to me about lightning, thunder, and Hurricane Andrew. I've never been much of a science gal, so I didn't completely understand what he was talking about. (What do you mean, lightning also can make sounds?) He's been reading a book about storms that he brought home. A few times I said, "Really? I didn't know that!" (That's why I have the internet, right? I don't have to know or remember these things. I can Google them.)
Do other families have conversations like these? Please comment and let me know.
I'd like to think facts make us better informed and prepared, whether we're talking about an old TV show, a current event, or the early life of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Thomas Jefferson agrees. He said, "Educate and inform the whole mass of the people . . .They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."
He can be trusted. After all, he's on the nickel. (By the way, did you know he died on July 4?)