We were at the Detroit Historical Museum. It’s nestled between the DIA, the Michigan Science Center, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, and the Detroit Public Library. Given its proximity to these gems we often skip it in favor of some combination of the others when we’re in Midtown (who am I kidding, the Science Center is our haunt 99% of the time at this stage of the game:). Every time we do end up at the Historical Museum I remember why skipping it is a mistake.
It was me and the four (two bigs and two littles). If you haven’t been I highly recommend it. If you have, I highly recommend a return trip. So engaging, so relevant to young Michiganders, so much fun for all! From the massive train set in the “Streets of Detroit” exhibit on the lower level to the life size assembly line display and the Kid Rock History of Music in Detroit showcase on level one, the kids loved it all!
If your kids are ready for the content and you’re ready for processing with them, there’s also an moving and meaningful Underground Railroad exhibit on the top floor. Be ready for a deep, reflective, and emotional experience. My little ones are too little, but soon enough.
One of the stops upstairs is a simulation of the invention of Vernors, a Detroit-based ginger ale brand created in 1866 by the pharmacist James Vernor. The kids get to put ingredients together and submit their bubbly invention to a digital Mr. Vernor for tase testing. He either likes it or he doesn’t, and then he gives a critique…too bitter, not bubbly enough, etc. Our 9-year-old acted as advisor to his 5-year-old sister for her turn. The concoction she made ended up being too bitter. She was furious!
With red cheeks and clinched fists she turned to me and said, “He made me lose on purpose!”
Surprisingly, he admitted it.
“Dad,” he exclaimed in earnest, “it was a chance for her to learn!”
We spend so much time wanting them to get things “right.” We hope for it, we wish for it, sometimes we even make it happen by manipulating situations that are beyond their ability to navigate.
Once again I have a kid to thank for reminding me of the backward nature of some of the adult-ish stuff we do!
Parents and educators, let’s let them fail. Let’s embrace it. Let’s let them fight through frustration and into learning and growth. Let’s let it be a paradigm we live in during all the moments we’re gifted as the stewards of their development, from their youngest days on into their adult lives.
If we’re going to manufacture moment, let’s consider manufacturing moments for mistake making. They’ve got to get to know how it feels on both ends and all the way through the making of mistakes, the processing of frustrations, the pulling oneself up by bootstraps, and the learning toward “back to the old drawing board” grit, determination, faith, hope, and persistence.
Big brothers. Great parenting resources! Thanks, Bud!
In it together for the kids.
Live. Love. Listen. Learn. Lead.