I know that we elders are supposed to dispense wisdom by the gallon, but sometimes it pays to ask the youngest generation for opinions or advice. Later this week, as part of an intergenerational project being carried out by our Port Washington public schools and a local arts organization, Mark and I will be interviewed by fifth graders at a nearby school. They are asking older members of the community about any aspects of their lives they care to talk about -- a celebration, a difficulty, an important experience.
The teacher coordinating the project suggested that I might speak about my writing, but I wondered whether it might not be more interesting to the fifth graders for me to talk about the children in the remote hill village in Nepal where I have visited four times and stayed with local families. I asked my grandchildren -- who are much closer to fifth grade than I am -- to help me decide. All those who weighed in voted for talking about the children in Nepal.
Maika, 19, said, "I would say the kids would be interested in how children live in Nepal -- the differences and similarities to how children in the U.S. grow up." And Anna, 15, emailed me: "I would want to know where they live, the languages they speak, what they wear, their jobs, the average sizes of families, their hobbies, and what the landscape looks like." Lisa, 11, also voted for the children. So that's what I'll do. I'll take some photos along -- and offer to show slides of the village some time in the future.
And I'll please the teacher too. My writing does figure into this, since I wrote an article and a book about the people in the village. I'm looking forward to Thursday.
Band Aids by Shel Silverstein
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