Humor, Children, and #TheDress –  Taking a Moment to Be Wonderfully Human

(Especially In the Classroom)

I’m not going to go into #TheDress debate in here, I promise. You can read what I’m talking about here (FTR: white and gold at first AND THEN IT SWITCHED BECAUSE SCIENCE?!).

Here’s the thing, internet: between #thedress debate and #llamadrama, we had a pretty fun week. And that’s great. We should have fun. 

While these things were happening, I saw a few folks take to their twitters/facebooks/even news outlets and say things like “HOW DARE YOU DEBATE A DRESS WHEN _________ (net neutrality, economic downfall– interestingly enough these were people who didn’t talk about Ferguson *ahem*) IS HAPPENING?!”

And, I guess I get that. I am certainly known to take to the internet and bring up tough conversations. I think it’s important to talk about things that are hard, or to make difficult, relevant conversations happen in my classroom. I think that, if we fixate TOO MUCH on something, we can lose sight of real, bigger issues in the world.

NOW, that said, I think there’s nothing wrong with people taking a break and laughing/being mind blown by something. The dress one was especially cool because it was about science, perception, and the brain. I have no doubt a bunch of people looked up how color perception works, why it happened, or learned something new about the brain (I know I did).

Brain space, passion and excitement are not a zero-sum game. That mentality gets us into so many problem. People can think about MANY things. We can consider the difficult conversations of race, privilege, or what’s happening in the outside world. We can also laugh at something silly, be caught up in something (and then move on), and learn something new. One of the reasons I love the #Educolor collective so much is because we can talk about all those things AND laugh and enjoy each other. Both are necessary and lovely.

I found out about Leonard Nimoy’s Passing as I was writing this piece. Star Trek: TNG was such an essential part of my childhood, and Spock’s character was always such a wonderful discovery about what it was to be human.

I push my kids to think critically. We about race, community, nature, and justice. I try and teach them how to advocate for themselves.

I also want to let them be kids and, most importantly let them learn how to be human. That means that, like all things, laughter and silliness and unabashed joy are absolutely encouraged in moderation (and maybe outside of it too). As this piece notes, “every now and again, it’s nice to talk about serious questions through a topic that’s anything but.”

So, at the end of their tough vocab quiz today, my kids have the space to write me a little note about what color they think #TheDress is, after my first period did it, we all had a good laugh about it and talked science. That seems like a pretty good Friday to me.

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