At breakfast on Friday, I was quizzing my third grader for a spelling test, frustrated that too many on the list are completely irrelevant to his eight year old life. “Abstract.” “Contrast.”
We were both distracted. Who cares how to spell “abstract” when you aren’t going to use it in a sentence for at least four more years?
So his older brother, who often brings up random topics, decided it was the ideal moment to explain the Cold War to everyone in the kitchen. “War,” he explained, “is profitable. No one seems to understand that.”
“And the Cold War wasn’t a real war with soldiers shooting each other. It was an escalation of fear by building bigger and bigger weapons. That’s what your book is really about.”
In front of the third grader was the book he’d read the night before: The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Suess.
“Triple-sling jigger.” “Tough-tufted prickly.” “Zooks.” And real words for the sticklers, “Slingshot” and “Vigor.”
Words with new relevance. Too bad they’re not on his spelling test. They might stick better.