Sometimes it seems like human brainwaves connect in ways I just never expected.
This week Ashley and I am some other Times staffers are volunteering at Shreveport’s Cherokee Park Elementary with the Junior Achievement organization. Each grade level learns something about free enterprise.
I am teaching fourth graders. The first day I was really concerned that having these students get a grip on revenues, expenses and capital resources might be kind of tough. But after today, I feel a lot better.
We were talking about economies, and the word interdependence came up. When I asked the class to define the word, I got blank stares. So I asked if anyone knew what independence meant.
“It’s what those guys signed.” One student said. I was happy the young man knew a little about the Declaration of Independence, but recognizing a word is not quite understanding.
Then I hear a little singing on another side of the room. The teacher, who stays in the room to help with any disciplinary needs, laughed and asked if I heard the song. I said no and asked the girl to sing it louder.
And she did: “I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T. Do you know what that mean? She got her own house. She got her own car…”
I couldn’t let her sing alone, so I leaned and rocked a little bit to uncontrollable laughter. (I didn't join in on the vocals, however.)
The song is “Indepdent” by Webbie featuring Lil Boosie & Lil Phat.
All the lyrics are not necessarily appropriate for fourth graders to sing in class. But at that moment I was just so happy that there was a connection. Fourth graders throughout the room started saying independent means standing alone. Not needing anyone. And from there, we moved on to interdependence’s opposite meaning and how many businesses need each other to thrive.
I couldn’t have planned that if I tried. And if I had, I don’t think it would’ve worked out as well. We got some good laughs, but more importantly, we had an understanding today in Ms. Thomas’ room.