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ODDS & ENDS
The Computer Lesson
Teachings of a Child

by Hal Evan Caplan
October 22, 2011

My child teaches me on many different levels as I learn from him when I least expect it. He has become a master at these lessons. I have to admit, I actually look forward to learning from my teacher. There are no restrictions associated with these lessons because they happen anywhere, anytime and anyplace. The only ingredients to this equation are my teacher, myself and the situation at hand which in turn becomes the lesson. That is why I am the student and he is my teacher.

I am so happy to know that my teacher loves to learn. He enjoys school and he adores his teacher. I believe he secretly has a crush on her, but do tell him I told you. My wife and I are very much involved in his school activities and we have attended several of the parent teacher meetings or Parent Academy sessions, as they are called. In our school system, Parent Academy is when the parents come to the classroom as a group in order to get a better understanding of what our children are being taught up to that point. The different subject matters are reviewed as well as what is expected from our children. We get the opportunity to walk around the room and of course a Q & A section is held at the end.

At the time of this particular classroom visit, the walls were sectioned off into different themes. The children's names were placed throughout the classroom for varies reasons. Stars and colors were plaster all over the room and several bookshelves full of books were strategically placed in the corners, which made the room feel very welcoming. I noticed something that just made me chuckle. Not because it was funny but rather because I was taken aback by how far technology had come. Four streamlined computers sat in the corner all connected to the overhead projector mounted in the ceiling, connected to the printer and of course with internet connection. School systems didn't have anything like this when I was growing up. Can you say Dewey Decimal System? That was high tech for us and that is what comes to mind when I look back and reflect upon my younger years at school.

My son's teacher sent work home that entailed him to get online at home. She gave all the parents a specific website address where she expected the students to do their work. This was not extra credit work, mind you, but rather daily work. She informed the parents that based on the login information given for each student, she could not only monitor how long the students actually did the work presented, but it also delivered a report to her detailing how each student fared.

In addition to enjoying school, my teacher is very active with team sports and extra circular actives; therefore, we are constantly on the move. He is still very much involved in baseball and I am actually the assistant coach. We were supposed to be getting ready for the baseball game that night as I gathered his bat bag which consisted of his bat, baseball glove, helmet, batting gloves and water, and of course my glove. Once I have everything packed up, I called out for him to get dressed into his uniform.

I heard an echo from upstairs.

"Hold on please." He voiced.

"We are going to be late for the game." I declared.

"Dad, please, I need to finish this." His voice again echoed from upstairs.

"Seriously, we need to get moving. I can't be late; I have to get field drills going very soon." I pointed out.

I had no idea what on earth he was doing. I marched upstairs. If I was a cartoon character, steam would have been coming out of my ears. I looked in his bedroom, but he was not there. I glanced in our bedroom expecting to see him lying on our bed, petting our cat, but he was not there either. I called out to him one last time because he likes to hide from me, even though we were not in the middle of a game of hid-and-seek, and I figured this is what he was up to.

"Dad, I?m in here." He replied.

I walked into the office and saw him on the computer. At first glance I didn't know what he was actually doing, so when I saw this, I about lost it. Let's just say that I assumed.

"Are you serious?" I fumed.

He spun around from the computer screen and faced me. He had this confused look on his face. He was trying to tell me something but I wouldn't get past the fact that he was playing on the computer, especially since we had to get going.

"Dad." He spoke.

"Get changed please... NOW!" I demanded.

"Dad!"

"Fine, you stay here and play your silly games on the computer. Mom can bring you to the field. I have to leave right now." I declared.

"Dad, listen for one second, please... please." He shot back.

I knew that he was about to say something. I wasn't sure what, but I had no idea that I was about to be taught a valuable lesson. This happened to be a lesson that my wife and I instilled upon my teacher a long time ago.

"Dad, I am not playing a game on the computer, I am actually doing math homework." He explained.

I stood there like a bump on a log and the large lump in my throat was very difficult to swallow. I felt like I was frozen solid. I couldn't move. I was mad at myself for acting the way I just had. The worst part is that I knew better than to assume. I had been adamant about teaching my teacher not to assume. He finally spoke.

"I need to finish it before my game tonight because if I don't it will be too late to finish after the game." He continued.

I immediately got down on one knee so I could be face to face with my teacher. I was very embarrassed by my actions. I knew I had to make this right, and fast.

"I am so sorry. I had no idea that you were doing homework. I thought you were just playing computer games. Next time I will find out first. That was so wrong of me. Do you accept my apology?" I asked.

"I sure do." He said as he gave me a huge hug.

Then he pushed back and made a grand slam statement.

"Dad, it's not all about baseball and school is more important anyway... besides, if I was just playing games on the computer, I would have stopped a long time ago." He whispered with a smile.

In a nutshell, the lesson that I was reminded of that day was: It is essential to remember that education is very important and should come before playtime.



About the Author:

I am happy to share with you, the readers, that the stories of "Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke" has been published into a book. The book is available at: partialobserver.com and halcaplan.com (though amazon.com). If you would like a signed copy from My Teacher and me, please contact me at halcaplan@gmail.com and we can work out the details.




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