Juxtaposed with my brief brush with wordlessness is my son’s language explosion. He has just turned two and the language center in his brain finally awoken. All he wants to do is point to things and have us name them for him, then show off all of the words he probably didn’t even know he had locked away in his noggin. His excitement is palpable; he always wants us to read to him so he can point out all of the pictures he recognizes. He’s starting to sing songs.
The process hasn’t been without speed bumps. While his words are much clearer (and there are even sentences!), there are still lots of times where we don’t understand what he is trying to tell us, and he gets frustrated. A frustrated two-year-old who is also trying to assert his autonomy is a force of nature. A really loud force of nature who doesn’t like to hear the word “no.” But he doesn’t give up, for better or for worse.
I marvel at both my kids’ enthusiasm about learning. My daughter is desperate to learn how to write and practices without my prompting. She works and works and works at something until she gets it right. My son has started counting anything and everything while also trying to figure out the letters and numbers on license plates (so far, he really likes “B”). He watches and waits until he’s sure he can do something before really going for it (like talking). They both absolutely adore school and their friends. They want to learn about anything and everything and have a ton of fun doing it.
I dread the day when neither of them look forward to going to school and reading becomes a chore rather than a joy. I wonder when my kids will start looking as disinterested, unmotivated, and frustrated as the majority of the students who sit in front of me. I wonder how much of it is based on my students’ lowered expectations for their educations. Educations that once excited them and now almost repulses them. Educations that should have prepared them and left them enthusiastic for higher education instead of resentful.
At what point will my kids go from learning to speak to having nothing particularly meaningful to say?