Summer is my busy season for teacher professional development events, so I find myself people watching at airports around the USA as I make the journey to various events. This summer I had the pleasure of meeting two little boys (about 4 & 5 years old). I was fresh from a conference where I had rubbed elbows with all sorts of brilliant geographic minds who are VERY serious about geography and all things geospatial. As I patiently await the boarding process, two boys bounced into the waiting area like they were straight from the Tigger Fan Club Meeting.
One of the little fellows looks at me and says, "We're going to fly home!"
I replied, "Me, too! Where's home?"
He quickly and assuredly says, "Alemeda and Broadway."
"What city is that in?" I inquire.
He retorts, "Alemeda and Broadway."
Now I'm curious as to how much he understands about his geography, so I ask, "Is that a city?"
"No" he explains, "it's a country!"
"What country is that?" I ask.
As he's dancing around the post he says, "Alemeda."
"Oh, I see. I've never been there." I replied.
He QUICKLY exclaims as he slows down to emphasize his point, "Ohhhh, it's a beauuutiful place!"
I told him I'd add that to my places to visit and he smiled proudly as he skipped off with flagrant waves goodbye.
What a ground truthing experience! Not in the way that geography professionals would think but isn't that truly grounding? It certainly made me think about the "beauuutiful places" in my life, personal geography that gives meaning and shapes who we are. As Dorothy says, "There's no place like home."
P.S. A salute to this little boy's parents who taught him where home is, the most beautiful place in the world!