Jayden and The Map

Here’s something you can do the next time you become overly impressed with your own brain-power:

Explain maps to a five-year old.

In these times of smart phones and GPS navigation few people refer to “a graphic depiction of a portion of the earth’s surface” (as the field manual used to put it) but  I am one of those hold-outs for which actual paper maps figure prominently in trip planning.  However when I had my Rand McNally out the other day my grandson Jayden became very interested. It probably was the novelty of the large format, spiral binding and informational color scheme that caught his eye, but when I gave him the aforementioned field-manual definition of the word map he really lit up.

Mind you, Jayden’s  grown up in an artistic household so the idea of an image representing something else is a concept he already has a handle on….but when he tumbled to the idea that the pictures (maps) conveyed additional  information the questions started shooting out like a Uzi on full automatic. Some of the issues were easy to resolve –  like when we located Clarksville on the map, and found where his cousins his cousins live, but then the questions became both more esoteric and detailed:

  • Why are there broken clocks on the map?
  • If maps show Clarksville from high above us are the map-makers in Heaven with Grandma June?
  • If Clarksville is colored red on the map then why is our house yellow?

…and many, many more.

It was one of the very few times ADHD worked to my advantage; while I was stumbling for answers he had already moved on ( and through) four other topics.

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