Three boys who built a nation

You know when you read a post on a Mommy/Daddy blog and the whole thing is an excuse for the writer to brag about his/her kid’s intellect or athleticism? Don’t you just hate that?

Good news! This will be the latest in a string of 260ish posts in which I do not brag about any of my kids’ prowess on an athletic field. Yes, I did post about my son’s first soccer goal, but that was more relief than boasting.

The bad news is that there are two more boys coming along who may develop into star athletes, should lightning strike, and who knows that you won’t be showered with tales of their goals and touchdowns through the seasons of the future.

But that’s for another day. For now, I will take the humble road and merely tell you how smart my kids are.

For his seventh birthday, Big Brother asked for a puzzle map of the United States. Since this was easier to procure than an authentic German pickelhaube, worn by a real WWI soldier, preferably his great-grandfather, I decided the map would make a fine gift. (I doubt his great-grandfather packed his pointy helmet for his voyage to America.)

Big Brother was thrilled to receive his puzzle map and, being an eager student of geography, put it together immediately. To challenge himself, he began putting it together with the pieces upside down. His enthusiasm for the map drew Buster’s attention. Before long, Big Brother was helping Buster put the map together.

east is west

When you use the pieces upside down, it makes everything seem backwards too.

We can build a nation.

Big Brother helps Buster learn the ropes. Big Man refrains from eating the pieces.

Now, Buster doesn’t know the names of the states, or their capitals, like Big Brother does, but I’ll be damned if he hasn’t learned where a good many of them go.

building a nation

This is how much Buster can put together without any help.

I would have been completely satisfied with this. It is more than enough to fill an entire post with cringe-worthy paternal pride. But Buster, his father’s son, finds joy in sharing knowledge. Like his father, he never let the fact that he only half knows what he’s doing prevent him from teaching somebody else how to do it. The world moves fast, and we can’t wait for them to wait for us to learn the whole thing.

Buster has begun teaching Big Man how to put the United States together. As of last night, Big Man could put Michigan and Maine in the right spots. That may not seem like much, but it is almost 1/3 of the Ms, and the Ms pull as much weight as anybody, state-wise.

junior partners

Buster passes his learning on to Big Man. If this cycle retains its natural course, Big Man will soon pass on his knowledge to me.


By this time next week, they’ll all know more about geography than I do. It’s a good thing I didn’t wait until I knew much about it to start teaching them, or maybe getting out of the way so they could learn it on their own.

Anyway, aren’t you glad I used this post to objectively document intellectual progress rather than get all puffed out about my amazing kids? Don’t you just love it when a blog is all classy like that?