I spent the afternoon in my grandson's kindergarten class. We were talking about how animals adapt to winter weather. Somehow during the course of the discussion, the topic of Groundhog day came up. Today is the 4th and Groundhog Day was the 2nd so somehow it fell in line with the other stuff.
At any rate I stupidly decided to take the opportunity to help kids understand the difference between custom and real science. I was trying to get them to realize that a rodent can't predict weather. It was just an interesting custom that somehow arose and there really wasn't any solid science behind a woodchuck being able to tell us how much more winter we're going to get.
The discussion seemed to be going fairly well and we eventually moved on. I was feeling pretty good that something had gotten through to this group of inquisitive kindergartners.
Later that day, after school, I got the boys off the bus and wouldn't you know Nicholas announces there's going to be six more weeks of winter. I asked him if he remembered the discussion we had in his class about groundhogs not being able to predict the weather. It was at this point his 7-year-old brother chimed in and I knew I was in trouble.
Cole was very indignant. He wanted to know why someone would make up a story like that just to fool kids. He didn't think it was very nice. I continued trying to get them to understand the difference between science and some of the things people do out of tradition.
After several more questions and comments they eventually started getting it. But Nicholas was still a skeptic. He wanted to believe that silly rodent.
It's always something different with kids.