Well, call me stubborn, but when the school district decided that the kids couldn't watch the eclipse at school, I got a little more into it than I might have otherwise. In an effort to use up ingredients in my kitchen and not have to go to the grocery store, I accidentally made themed dinner the night before the eclipse:
|"Look, planet pancakes and sun eggs! And I didn't even plan it!" (ba dum crash)|
And then when my neighbor across the street asked if we could watch together and share our solar sunglasses (which we got from a teacher who had to cancel her eclipse-viewing plans), I got a little more into it and made little goody bags.
We took the kids out of school at lunch time and came home for Sun Chips and crescent roll sandwiches.
We watched through cloudy skies and actually saw a lot more of the action than I had thought we would when I saw the weather forecast. I wasn't sure what I thought about the eclipse glasses, but I was glad that we had them.
But we enjoyed our homemade cardboard box viewer just as much! I was sad that the heavy cloud cover kept us from seeing the crescent-shaped sun shadows and reduced the effect of the growing darkness (since it was kind of gloomy to start with)...
...but we were amazed by the crickets starting to chirp and night birds starting to sing. We even think the flowers closed a bit.
|Here's the "Proof that I was there also" photo. I really should not be allowed to take selfies, as I am so horrible at them.|
|Again, I possess a lot of skills but selfie-taking is not one of them.|
Even though we weren't in the path of totality, and the weather didn't cooperate, and our driveway party was pretty small, it still was full of wonder. Nothing compares to hearing things like this:
I think teachers teach in order to hear moments like this. It's too bad that perceived but manageable risk suppressed wonder and curiosity and memory-making. Jeremy's words regarding the strange fear that seemed to develop overnight about this natural wonder hit the spot.
"A major part of education for children is learning about and experiencing the world that they live in. It is a world with dangers and wonders. Therefore, it is also a world that should be lived in with wisdom. A solar eclipse is an amazing and rare event. Certainly the temptation to look directly at the sun during an eclipse increases, but students could be instructed and trained about the temptation. They could be educated about how to behave during an eclipse. They could be extended appropriate measures of trust and oversight in order to be outside, under the heavens, during such an awe-inspiring event. Instead, they are being deprived of such a unique experience. They are also being deprived of an opportunity to gain wisdom about how to responsibly foster curiosity and learning during this event.
Regarding the specifics of being outside during a solar eclipse, there is more to experience than simply looking at the sun, something you rightly warn against. However, there is a lot going on outside during an eclipse, a lot of other places for children’s eyes to go. The lighting changes, the other side of the sky darkens, strange shadows and colors emerge, silhouettes of the eclipse can be seen. Yet, our children will be kept inside because of one small spot of danger (which is also the source of all the surrounding beauty). In my opinion, this manner of managing our students during the eclipse fosters fear instead of courage and superstition instead of wisdom."
But more importantly, the true awe and wonder of such a day like today are summed up much better in the Psalms: "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork" and "Praise the Lord! Praise him, sun and moon, praise him all you shining stars!"