Lessons from Peter Jennings

Peter Jennings died last night. I found this tidbit from the New York Times fascinating given our desire to help our kids become effective narrators of life:

In “The Century” (Doubleday, 1998), one of two history books that he co-wrote with Todd Brewster, Mr. Jennings recalled an early exercise that his father put him through to sharpen his powers of observation. “Describe the sky,” his father had said. After the young boy had done so, his father dispatched him outside again. “Now, go out and slice it into pieces and describe each piece as different from the next.”

I loved this.

I don’t even think I could do this with the night sky. But it reminded me of what I’ve done with my kids with art. Later this week, I’ll share some ideas for how to make art come to life for you and your kids.

Charlotte Mason suggests the same kind practice when out in nature. Send your child to look at a plant or tree and ask her to return with a description of what she saw. Send her again to find an even more precise detail that she overlooked the first time. Then listen as she tightens her description.

Model this behavior when you observe anything as well.


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