After driving across town to pick up my middle son at school, he runs toward me swinging his backpack and being goofy, big smile on his face. He is like this every day at the end of school and though he would never admit it, I am sure it is as much to do with his current school as it does that school is over for the day. He hops in the car, first stopping to be goofy with Lila, then climbing onboard. As we drive off, he begins talking, "Did you ever think so much, you outsmarted yourself?" No way to answer that one, and luckily I didn't have to, he kept on talking. As my mind glanced back at the days of sitting in philosophy class in college, my son continued, "You know when you think so hard about something it gets confusing? Did you know that everything is made of nothing? There's these things called atoms that are about eighty percent nothing and when they get close together, we can feel them, like when I put my finger on the dashboard, but this isn't really a dashboard, it's really a bunch of nothing. And we can't really see things, we just see the light reflecting off the atoms."
A couple hours later, at supper, the conversation resumed with big brother kicking in like they had read the same book. (As it turns out they did, *snicker*) Joey turned the conversation, "Yeah and when you read something, it's like you suddenly start seeing it everywhere, like just today Mr. Gifford said. . ." My mind wandered. I know Mr. Gifford, Joey's sixth grade teacher, said last night at open house, "I appologize in advance for how many times you are going to hear my name this year." The next thing I knew the conversation had moved on without me. . ."and isn't it cool that powder is explosive if you put it in the air?"
So I have been practicing my questioning skills and asked, "Given what you guys have been talking about with atoms, and air, and objects, what do you think is the reason why powder in the air is explosive?" (Go. Mama! Go. Mama!---my silent cheer as I ponder my own question. I am curious to hear how they explain it) Charlie didn't have an immediate answer, so I encouraged him to keep thinking. Then Joey decided it had something to do with the surface area of the powder molecules. Dad pitched in a hint about the burn triangle, and added his own question, "What will there be more of around each particle of flour when it is, here's your word of the day, atomized?" and both boys chimed in, "Oxygen!"
Sometimes the richness of the conversations my kids have, or are capable of amazes me. . .