What Should a 12 Year Old Know?

What Should I Know?

What Should I Know?



“So, what should children be able to do by age 12, or the time they leave elementary school? ​​ They should be able to read a chapter in a book, write a story and a compelling essay; know how to add, subtract, divide and multiply numbers; detect patterns in complex phenomena; use evidence to support an opinion, be part of a group of people who are not their family and engage in an exchange of ideas in conversation. ​​ If all elementary school students mastered these abilities they would be prepared to learn almost anything in high school and college”. ​​  I ran across that opinion the other day and was certainly intrigued by it. ​​ I think, by age 12 I could do all but the “complex phenomena (Any state or process known through the senses rather than by intuition or reasoning). ​​ I think I was capable of that but when the word “complex” is added I begin to believe I wasn’t capable at that age. ​​ I do remember at age 12, a mother that lived very close to us, getting me to tell her how much whisky my father drank and then feeling guilty that I blurted out our family “secret”. ​​ I trusted her but it wasn’t long until my mother found out and I was severely chastised. ​​ So much for the “detect patterns” in the complex phenomena thingy.

Smileycons!My Aunt Helen called me the other night and her call was totally unexpected and very gratifying. ​​ It never fails to make me feel good when someone from so deep in my past makes contact. ​​ She is one of the few people left that remember me as a 5-year-old kid, so consequently, she knows me as few do. ​​ As a young boy I spent many weekends up in “Clell Hollow” at her house with Uncle Guy and their son Harold Gene. ​​ Grandma & Grandpa Hale lived within a stones-throw as did a lot of other members of the Hale Clan. ​​ What made those visits so meaningful was the way they treated me. ​​ For the first time in my young life I felt important. ​​ For the most part, back in that time, children were expected to stay out of the way and go unnoticed. ​​ Aunt Helen & Uncle Guy treated me differently, so I wanted to spend almost every weekend with them. ​​ Looking back, I suspect my visits grew tiresome to them, but to their credit, if they felt that way they never made me feel unwelcome. ​​ Uncle Guy passed away a few years ago but I still visit Aunt Helen every summer. ​​ This wonderful woman still makes me feel as welcome as​​ she did 60 years ago. ​​ I always stop by Uncle Guy’s gravesite for a brief conversation. ​​ 

Smileycons!​​ We recently received about 7” of snow, so we were pretty much homebound for several days with little to no activity outside our home. ​​ Jerilyn began working on a 750-piece puzzle with no discernable edges and I spent even more time on my PC. ​​ I sent out a scenic picture to all my email friends showing the winter scene as we looked out across our backyard and down the creek. ​​ A good friend of mine in Florida replied, saying that he had been swimming in his pool of 90° water earlier that day. ​​ Needless to say, I was envious and the thoughts of that warm water jogged around in my head for most of the day. ​​ As I would walk by a window and look outside at the snowy winter weather, a picture of the warm Florida water would pop into my mind. ​​ But, on the other hand, we don’t worry a lot about hurricanes, or suffer thru interminable, stifling hot summers. ​​ All areas of our great country have their advantages and disadvantages. ​​ Some of us live where we do because of work, others because they want to be close to relatives, and for most of us, it’s where we call home.​​ 

​​ Smileycons!As a boy growing up in a small mining community in southwest Virginia in the 1940’s, I was exposed to the daily hardships that​​ came from being poor. ​​ I was not aware that we were poor because everyone in our community of coal miner dads had similar incomes. ​​ Our entertainment was always outside the home at the center of the camp, playing simple games like “Kick The Can”, “Tag”, or some type of ball. ​​ All of us kids were forced to entertain ourselves, or at the very least, remain quiet and not bother our parents. ​​ In those days’ children were seen and not heard, participating very seldom in adult conversations. ​​ In this environment​​ I grew up loving the written word. ​​ Our small two-room grade school did not have a library, so the books of choice were comic books. ​​ At any given time, I would have a stack of comic books four feet high. ​​ I remember seeing the characters in those books watching TV and wondered what a TV was? ​​ In the early 1950’s my parents purchased a 12 inch Philco television and it only had one channel that snaked its way to our home from Huntington, WVA. ​​ The antenna was secured to a tree atop the mountain above our camp. ​​ The wire was strung down the mountainside using two strands of copper wire, separated by plastic hair pins melted between the two wires by a hand torch. ​​ The wires were attached to a signal booster on a power pole in the camp, then run to each home that contributed to the purchase of the signal booster ($200). ​​ That TV was my first exposure to life outside our small county tucked away deep within the mountains of Virginia. ​​ It was my first inkling of what a big, wonderful world we lived in. ​​ From that​​ humble beginning sprang my desire to tell stories and to tell them in a manner that would enrich or entertain others (I’m still wondering if that’s true).  ​​​​ And so, that brought on my random observations and “The View from My Window on The World”. ​​ 

Smileycons!It's close to midnight as I shutdown my PC and prepare to go down the hall and get ready for bed. ​​ With most of the lights off, I look around the area where I spend a big chunk of my life: ​​ There are pictures of loved ones, mementos from trips, things I use daily and things just laid aside until I find a permanent place for them. ​​ All of these are supposed to reflect what interests me in life, but I have to say that, if true, my life is a mess. ​​ One of these days I’m gonna​​ clear it all away and start anew. ​​ That reminds me of a meeting Jerilyn and I attended a few nights ago about possible trips coming up with a travel service. ​​ Everyone in attendance was retired (old). ​​ The moderator said that he was looking to plan a trip​​ to Spain in a year or two. ​​ Someone in our group blurted out, “Don’t wait too long!”, meaning we may not be around in two years. ​​ That could easily apply to clearing my desk. ​​ So I had better get to it soon!.  ​​​​ 


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