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Jean McDermott is a freelance writer and professional muscian.
As a teacher, I ostensibly teach music. In reality I am a role model, and I take that very seriously. Students don't stick to music with their questions, especially the younger ones, and as my son knows, I know everything. When he was small and even as a bigger kid, he'd ask me a question and if I said "I don't know," he would then say, "Come ON, Mom! TELL me!" Because clearly, I was holding out on him. "I don't know," wasn't something he'd believe. I knew, he was sure of it. I just didn't want to tell him. That's not true, of course, but he thought it was.
Yesterday I was teaching a little, starry-eyed 5-yr-old whose attention was all over the place. She's still getting used to being in this big world. So music lessons and the sky and trees and whatever is on the wall and the dogs all have equal fascination.
She looked at my NASA calendar, which has a lovely shot of deep space on it. "What's THAT?" she breathed.
"That's space," I told her.
"What is SPACE?" she asked.
"Well," I replied, pointing at the blue sky that was slowly changing colors as the sun set, "See the blue sky?"
"Above the blue sky there is space! Do you see the stars at night?"
"The stars are in space!"
"OH!" she said. Not getting it yet, I think, but it was clearly new information for her!
We talked a little bit more about space and what is in it (the Earth, the Sun).
And then of course I had to try to redirect to the music. But it was a nice little cosmic detour!