I read this article today about how children who have a "conversation friend" learn better. They figure out reading quicker because they've already heard the words used in context. They also gain better problem solving and social skills if they have someone available with which to talk through their thoughts. The article then lamented that the role of the conversation friend isn't being filled by parents any more, exacerbated by the economy, both parents working, longer shifts, etc... What I took away from the article was, as a parent, we need to create opportunities for conversation time with our children and relish those times when they happen. Sounds basic enough, but it's something I've kind of gotten away from as I've become one of those in the 'longer shifts' category.
So tonight, I had that article percolating in my noodle as I picked up the kids for soccer. And, I think that's the reason I left talk radio on instead of switching it to the top40 station the kids usually prefer. The kids asked why, but accepted my answer of, "sometimes I'm in the mood for music, other times I'm in the mood for talking." Maybe the kids would pick up on something and it would spark a conversation that didn't involve deciphering pop lyrics, or on the other hand, the talking might mellow them out a bit before bed. Either way, I welcomed the change. The radio host had latched on to something (or a series of things, honestly I don't really remember) to be highly incensed about and he was very animated.
After listening a bit, Yo piped up from the back seat, "Dad, what's a launching pad?" Perfect! An excellent question asked because this guy on the radio used the phrase. So I stumbled through the definition in Tired-Daddy-ese. My explanation went something like, "Well, a real launching pad is where a rocket or missile sits before you shoot it. But he's using it to mean a place where something big and important starts." "Oh, like how a rocket starts slow and then gets faster and faster," chimed in Habtamu. "Well, no, in this case I think he's talking about something that starts quickly too, but you've got the right idea." The radio guy was actually talking about Afghanistan being a 'launching pad' for terrorist attacks, but of all of the words in that statement, I was glad that 'launching pad' is what got Yordi's wheels rolling.
A couple minutes go by and the radio blathers on.
"Dad," I hear from the back seat. "What's a drug dealer?"
I'm afraid my answer this time wasn't nearly as eloquent...