Inside: In this part of our series on Perfect Square, Karis–kids’ minister and mom of four–focuses on how family members’ unique personalities can lead us to process the same information in very different ways. This can lead to hilarious disconnects, as well as richer conversations and deeper learnings.
I adore my siblings. Squashed in the middle between an older sister and younger brother, I proudly claim my position as the family’s best peacemaker and attention-getter. The running joke in my family is my sister is wicked smart, I am the talented one, and the charming last-born has the benefit of both.
Karis (in the white dress) and her siblings as kids
That said, I’ve known from a young age how very differently my sister and I process information. Remember charades, where you act out a word and try to get others to guess? Well, nothing could shine a spotlight on our differences better than a good ole round of charades.
Once as teenagers, my sister and I were acting out the same word–conductor–but it was quite obvious we had different meanings in mind. Being a music nerd, I was waving my arms like an orchestra conductor. My sister was acting as a conductor of electricity!
Perfect Square Picture Book
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Now I have four boys of my own, and I see similar displays of individualism among them daily. These glorious differences truly came out when we discussed the book Perfect Square by Michael Hall.
As you may remember, my co-authors and I have been reading this book to our families and letting our kids teach us. We’ve been amazed at the wide array of reflections they’ve shared. (For links to all the posts, click here.)
In case you’re not familiar with the book, a red square loves being perfect. Then perfection is seemingly destroyed when the square is cut and poked. But instead of despairing, the square makes itself into a joy-giving, life-giving fountain. The square is reshaped again and again, and each time, it finds beauty and meaning in becoming something new: a park, a river, and so much more.
Kids Share Diverse Take-Aways From Perfect Square
In my house, I told the gentlemen it was their opportunity to publish their first “work” by taking over my blog post, but I gave very little instruction beyond that. We piled onto the couch together and read Perfect Square three times. Then I gave each of them a perfect, red square and asked them to teach me: “Where do we go from here?”
Below, dear readers, is the most poignant display of their personalities. Please enjoy an adventure through Perfect Square as told by each of my gents. As you read, reflect on your own household and how you’ve learned from each others’ perspectives over the years.
Poetry of Mathematics from Man Of Logic, Age 12
The title Perfect Square makes me giggle. Because saying something is a square automatically tells you that it is perfect. A square is a quadrilateral that has angles and lengths that are all perfectly equal. Which also means that we can take this one perfect square and turn it into 4 perfect squares. The square is also a rectangle and a rhombus, maybe that is why the author chose to label the square as perfect.
Let me show you something neat! This one perfect square can also be divided into 9 perfectly equal boxes and create…wait for it… a tic-tac-toe board! Who wants to play?
Next time we can talk about what a perfect square means in algebra, but I’m still learning that one myself. I better work on it some more before I teach you. I hope you liked my math lesson.
Practicing Resilience with Man Of Passion, Age 10
The book Perfect Square makes my mind explode with all the different things you can make from just a simple piece of paper! The whole book is trying to teach you something that is hard to get, even for my parents. I’ll try my best to show you.
Sometimes things don’t go your way. Even if you really, really want them to. But that doesn’t mean you should sit around and pout about it!
Today, I was getting ready to make a dragon out of my red square, but it ripped before I even got started. (Insert additional moral of cleaning your pancake syrup off the table before beginning your art project. XOXO, Mom) But did I let that stop me? No! I just had to come up with a new plan!
A campfire! And what is better than that? I mean, we’re talking S’mores here!
If I would have made a dragon, I never would have gotten the idea for S’mores. And once I got the idea for S’mores, I couldn’t stop thinking about them until my mom made some.
See? Something better might come along if you don’t pout about it. That’s what I learned from Perfect Square.
Savoring Life with Man of Joy, Age 6
I like it when my mommy reads to me. I like the perfect square because it changes colors. I made this airplane with my red square, and I hope it flies really far.
I tried it out in the tree house and it went the second farthest than any airplane I’ve ever made. That makes me happy!
Mom Reflections on Learning from Our Kids
You see, my friends, as much as we at Our Everyday Parables love to give you meaningful prompts to teach kids through literature, sometimes all you need to do is READ to them and let their imaginations run wild.
Kids are naturally curious, creative, and innovative. We can amplify that when we encourage them to explore, stay curious about their perspectives, and affirm their unique expressions of wisdom and love.
Our kids don’t need us to have a script for everyday life. Our kids really just need us. And that’s VERY good news.
How have the diverse personalities in your family helped to create deeper understandings (or hilarious misunderstandings)? Share your insights and anecdotes in the comment section below.
Want More from this series?
This post is the second of five where our kids take over the blog and share their Perfect Square reflections.
- You can check out the first one about valuing our kids as teachers here.
- In Picture Books Aren’t Just for Little Kids, a teen, middle-schooler, and elementary student discuss diversity, resilience, and finding the beauty in the mess.
- We also explore two simple questions to help your kids find God in any book (and other places, too).
Then, be sure to subscribe to get future posts right in your inbox. You’ll also get our easy, fun gratitude journal for kids.