Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How Does He Know This Stuff?

We went to the library this morning and found a nice stack of books to read for the next couple of weeks.  As has become our custom, the main stop we made was in the Juvenile Non-Fiction 900's.  Today I had a hard time finding appropriate books for Joshua because he's already read what our local library branch has to offer when it comes to books on Ancient Rome that don't divulge unnecessary information - unnecessary for a 5-year-old, that is.

There were a couple that seemed good but each had several pages that went into more detail about the Roman gods than I would like for him to be reading about at this time.  One book in particular, which has some great cross-section illustrations of Ancient Roman structures had only one page that I wouldn't like for Joshua to read right now.  After talking with him about my reasons, he was in agreement and told me that he'll just skip that page when he comes across it.

Each time we pick out books on Rome, I remind Joshua that he will probably come across some descriptions of how Ancient Romans worshiped.  Usually I say, "Just remember that even though the Romans worshiped many different gods, there is only One True God."  He's heard this enough times that he usually finishes the sentence for me.

Today, while we discussed the page from the cross-section book, we had this short conversation which left me speechless.

"Some of the Romans were Christians," Joshua informed me.

"Yes, I know," I replied.  "And one of the emperors spread Christianity through the empire and become a Christian himself."

"Yeah, that was Constantine," Joshua said casually.

"Yes, you're right.  It was Constantine," I replied.

"And Constantine even put the Greek letters for 'Christ' on the shields of the Roman soldiers," Joshua added.

"Wow...I didn't know that."  I was a little surprised at how easily he recalled this information.

"Well, he did, didn't he?"

"I'm sure you're right.  I just didn't know that until now," I answered.  "That's pretty cool."

"Yeah, it is cool."

I shut the van door and went about packing up the stroller.  I knew that Joshua had been reading a lot about the Romans, but I didn't know what he understood and remembered from the books he's been studying.  Apparently he remembered more than I expected.  After a little research I discovered that he's got his facts straight.

Photo from wikipedia.org
As I write this post I'm reminded of another conversation that Joshua and I had last week.  He had been shouting out, "We're going to drop a nuclear bomb here!" during his play time with the girls.  How did he know about nuclear bombs?  It's certainly not something that comes up in every day conversation around here...at least not usually.

"Joshua, did you read about nuclear bombs in the history encyclopedia?"  I asked.

"No.  I didn't read about that," he answered.

"Well, how did you know about nuclear bombs?"

"I don't know about nuclear bombs."

"But you keep mentioning them while you're playing."

"Well, I just don't know about the nuclear bombs that the U.S. dropped on Japan," he started sounding a little annoyed at this point.

"Wait a minute," I said, "How did you know that the U.S. dropped bombs on Japan unless you read about it in the history encyclopedia?"  Again, these are not normal topics of conversation around our house.

"But I didn't read it in the history encyclopedia," he insisted.  "I read it in the science encyclopedia."

"Oh...now I see."

Yes, I'm sure he did read it in the science encyclopedia.  But I'm not so sure that he "doesn't know about the nuclear bombs that the U.S. dropped on Japan".

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