Saturday, September 10, 2011

Goose Rock and The Rhetorical Child

This is the view from Goose Rock, but I didn't take the picture. These guys did.

My oldest child is entering what the proponents of classical education call the rhetoric stage. Here's what Dorothy Sayers (of "The Lost Tools of Learning") says about this stage: 

"The Pert age... is characterized by contradicting, answering back, liking to "catch people out" (especially one's elders)' and by the propounding of conundrums. Its nuisance-value is extremely high."

Anybody else have one of these? I see those hands. 


This summer our family took a trip north to the great state of Washington as we do every year. This year we decided to hike Goose Rock, a short hike but decently steep in places. Our city-bred kids were less than enthused at the exertion and started complaining about half way up. In an effort to bring some levity to the situation, I tried to play make believe. 

"We're Francisco Pizarro! We're exploring the jungles of Peru!"

"Mom," says the pert-aged child, "That was South America. We're in North America."


"Okay, we're Henry Hudson! We're searching for the Northwest Passage!"

"On foot?"

"Sure, why not?"

"He sailed a ship, mom."


"Okay. We're Lewis and Clark. Right continent, right method of transportation. They even explored close to here! You be Sacajawea! I'm Lewis and Owain is Clark.."

"Together? Mom, they split up when they got to the Northwest."

At this point I gave up. 

At least I know she's been listening. 

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