Thursday, September 15, 2011

Once More to Lake Superior

While our summer began with two weeks of new experiences as we traveled in England, we spent the rest of the season going to favorite places we've visited again and again.  We went to the Southeast Old Thresher's Reunion to ogle old tractors for the third summer in a row.  We went to the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. for the second time.  We went to the North Carolina Transportation Museum.  And we ended the summer with a return to the familiar shores of Lake Superior for our annual summer sojourn in Duluth, Minnesota, where Tim and I grew up.  For three years now, we've been spending about a month there in the summer, enjoying the lake, parks, creeks, museums, old buildings, trains, ships, and harbor, as well as catching up with family and friends. 

As we made the rounds of all our favorite Duluth places, I thought about the pleasures of repetition, especially for children.  It seems common for adults to continually search out new experiences, so I've been glad to be reminded by my son that repeating a beloved book or experience is also very satisfying.  For N., going to England was no more wonderful than going to Duluth; both trips were equally rich for him.  

And of course repetition is a crucial learning technique.  Every time we go to the train museum in Duluth, we revisit our favorite engines and relearn their histories, as well as noticing new things we'd missed on earlier visits.  Enforced repetition through learning drills can be dull and thus counterproductive, but it's easy to take advantage of my son's natural love of repetition in order to learn.  He's not bored by doing something he loves for the millionth time!  The biggest challenge as a parent is to cultivate patience and rediscover the child's pleasure of repetition.

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