Today I had to pick up my highschooler early from school. I arrived at 1:40 pm. The very pleasant woman behind the counter, the same one who has been greeting me for the past three years sweetly asked me to sign out my daughter in a notebook before I left.
"These kids don't know how to tell time," she lamented to me as she pointed to the book. "I watch them as they sign in and out, they look up at the clock then at me, waiting for me to tell them what time it is," she sighs.
I'm immediately struck by a flurry of images of Alli...telling time.
"Really?" I ask her.
"Of yah," she goes on, "I guess we are showing our age by knowing how to tell time because they sure can't."
I wonder for a moment. Why does Alli know how to tell time? How did she learn to do this? She wasn't taught how to read a clock. She never completed any worksheets to practice telling time. No. She just learned. On her own.
Alli wanted to know how to tell time so she knew when school was starting...and ending. She wanted to be able to read a clock so she knew how many minutes until her favorite television show came on. She asked what I meant when I said "quarter after," because she cared to know. She is fascinated by the difference between "am" and "pm." She inquires about it all the time...almost every day she says something about the difference between the two, and what the clock says...often many times a day. Time is meaningful to her at seven years old.
How is it that these teenagers cannot tell time? They have jobs. They too go to school, they live by a bell...they live by bells and adults telling them what to do and when to do it. Alli does not.
Alli makes her own time. She decides what she wants to do and when she wants to do it, and as such, time is critical. Days, weeks, hours, and minutes...they all matter to her. Time is relevant.
Thank you SVS.