A bit of a retraction is due here: in a previous post entitled Wish Me Luck, I lamented what I expected to be the inevitable outcome of trying to lead a discussion of geology, all to earn the Webelos Geologist Pin, with a particular group of children. I was worried on two scores; first, that I'd look like a plonker in front of my own son, and second, that these kids would be not be particularly well-behaved. This latter idea was based on previous experiences, and I had rather written off the whole exercise in my head.
Honestly, I was not in the best of tempers when I got there. There were lots of little reasons why I was already annoyed, not least of which being that my car had performed the automotive equivalent of a nervous breakdown, leaving me up in the air as to the status and cost of repairs to a vehicle which we planned to keep through the end of this calendar year. Sitting and waiting for the endless stream of suburban assault vehicles to move just enough so that I could find a place to park, I tried to keep in the back of my mind the whole time the idea that I was doing it for the benefit of my son, but I was still more than a little irritated.
What I neglected to remember, however, was that (a) children mature and grow up, (b) any topic which sufficiently captures the interest of ten year olds will keep their attention for at least the required hour, and (c) if you're sufficiently confident in your mastery of the subject, and you enjoy it, kids will pick up on that. At least, this group did.
In other words, it didn't go badly. Not at all. For the most part, the kids were interested and engaged, and asked some good and thoughtful questions (and kept the silly ones to a minimum). And while I'm still not the sort of person who genuinely enjoys hanging out with children other than our own two, I can see that this is the age, where, with careful and appropriate guidance and only the occasional stern talking-to, they could well take those first steps on the road to being interesting people. And Ian, who for reasons of his own is sometimes wary of his classmates, seemed pleased with the outcome. Or, at the very least, not appallingly and fatally embarrassed.
So I eat my words, more than just a bit. I hope that I'm enough of an adult myself to admit when I was wrong. Sometimes I wonder.