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Sharkbait: Mom, what’s a pair of socks?
Me: Huh?
Sharkbait: a PAIR OF SOCKS!
Me: You need a pair of socks? You have some on your feet! Why do you need more socks?
Sharkbait: NO mom, a PAIR-A-SOCKS! What IS it?!?
Me (with a total blank look): I have no idea what you are talking about. Socks are the things we put on our feet to keep them warm. A pair of socks are two socks that match…hopefully.
Sharkbait (looking exasperated): Duh! That’s not the pair-a-socks I’m talking about.
Chickadee (looking up from her book): Mom, he means a pair-of-DOCKS.
Me: A pair-of-do…. Oh! A PARADOX!!!
Sharkbait: That’s what I said mom! A Pair-a-socks! What is it?

Nevermind that I seriously wondered where my kids heard the word paradox, we busted out the dictionary (via google) and looked it up. One of these days I should get a print dictionary…the kids should probably learn how to use one. Anyhow, the definition wasn’t terribly useful for a 6 year old. Luckily his sister came to the rescue with her encyclopedia-like knowlege of Disney movies, which led to an intense discussion of how we should be like paradoxes.

I’ve always had a bit of a problem with the concept of balance as a spiritual or emotional goal. Balance, to me, seemed too much like trying to stand on the middle of a see-saw, putting a litte of this here, a little of that there. For a while, I tried out the idea of equilibrium. At first glance it seems like another word for balance, but when applied to math and science means something else–“An equilibrium of a dynamical system is a value of the state variables where the state variables do not change.” Equilibruim (chemical) basically says that there is X amount of product A and Y amount of product B reacting together to form Z amount of product C until it hits a sort of sweet spot of constant amounts of A, B, and C (and meanwhile, inside the solution its still active, with A and B combining to form C and C splitting up for form A and B). But that seemed too complicated, and still…not quite right.

Kids though, exhibit moments of brillance and are often good at cutting through the BS.

We should be like a pair of socks.

We should be paradoxes.

And we have now added an adapted version of the Mulan song to their little BoS/Grimoire.

Earth, sky
Day, night
Sound and silence
Dark and light

One alone is not enough
You need both together
Winter, summer
Moon and sun
Lesson Number One

Like a rock
You must be hard!
Like an Oak
You must stand firm!
Come quick
Like my blade
Think fast
Unafraid

Like a cloud,
Float softly
Like bamboo,
Bend in the wind
Creeping slow,
Like a turtle
Know in peace that
It’s ok to be afraid

One alone is not enough
You need both together
Winter, summer
Moon and sun
Lesson number one!

(Adapted from the song “Lesson Number One” from Mulan II)

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