Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New World in the Morning

For this weekend's read aloud I thought I'd choose something appropriate to the holiday and so I went with Jean Fritz's "Where Do You Think You're Going Christopher Columbus?" which I read to S & N over the course of two nights.
Having finished it I have to wonder why we continue to celebrate this holiday at all. I mean I guess I always knew that he didn't exactly discover the "new world" since there's that little problem of all the people who already lived there. And I knew he was looking for a trade route to the Indies and that in fact the "new world" was just a little something that got in the way. But I didn't realize what a jerk he was, how bullheaded he was, and basically how deluded he was. Even the book, which is a children's book, couldn't come up with much to say about him that was nice.
In the end one of the twins asked me, "was Christopher Columbus a good guy or a bad guy?" To which I answered, "well, he was certainly ambitious." Which led to the question I knew it would lead to: "what's ambitious?" But at least it got us off the subject of Christopher Columbus.
A quick internet search reveals how other communities have dealt with this most grayish of holidays. In Berkeley California they celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day. In South Dakota it's Native American Day. Hawaii has Discover Day. 
Rather than rid ourselves of a long weekend in October, and to avoid me ever again having to explain who Christopher Columbus was to my kids, I propose we rename it as well.
Here in New England we could call it "Apple Picking Weekend," "Leaf Peeping Day" or "Time to Bring the Houseplants Plants Inside Weekend." 
At our house it was "Last Swim of the Season Weekend."

song: New World in the Morning • artist: Roger Whittaker

No comments: