Friday, July 31, 2009

Are You Smarter Than a First-Grader?

Recently my sons came up with a new game to pass the time as we travelled. The boys competed head-to-head in Knowledge Battle, taking turns trying to stump each other with difficult questions. They determined that players could ask questions about history or challenge each other with trivia questions from books or movies familiar to both competitors. And to keep the game fair, the challenger had to know the answer to his own question. With each player starting out with five lives, the game ended when one player was eliminated.

Joe and the boys enjoyed playing Knowledge Battle while they waited in the car for the girls and me at a shopping center. When we returned to the car, I was in a happy place after finding new shoes for the girls. But my heart rate quickened when the boys insisted that I take on 7-year-old Christian in their new game.

Let me preface the rest of this story with a little personal history. I excelled in school. I made good grades and contributed to class discussions. But I never would have wanted to face-off in a battle of intellects. I never even liked playing Trivial Pursuit at home with my family, so I would have broken out in hives at the thought of joining my high school's prestigious Scholars Bowl team.

So with trepidation, I accepted Christian's challenge to play Knowledge Battle. Christian was the first to ask a question. "OK, Mom," he began gently, "where was Alexander Graham Bell raised."

Are you kidding me?

I did not even know how to guess the answer to this question. With only the slightest hope that Christian had learned about Bell in school because of a local connection, I answered weakly, "Alabama?"

"No, Mom. Scotland."

Oh, yes. That would have definitely been my next guess.

"It's your turn to ask a question, Mom," 10-year-old Carson prompted.

This was a nightmare! My mind went blank of all knowledge it had ever contained. Racing to find any bit of trivia left in my shriveled little brain, my mind settled on a movie I had recently watched with the children. Thinking of Confessions of a Shopaholic, I remembered a particularly amusing moment that I was sure would have gone over the head of my little boy who detests shopping.

"OK, OK, I've got one," I began excitedly. Then in my most serious smart voice, I asked, "In the movie Confessions of a Shopaholic, the lead female character is impressed that her boss can speak what well-known designer name brand?"

Little Christian wrinkled his nose and asked me to repeat the question. His brow furrowed in deep concentration as he sat in silence for several seconds. Then he cocked his head to the side and offered with a toothless grin: "Prada?"

Blog Widget by LinkWithin