Teach our son, TsukiMoon, about feelings and motivations of others.
Watching movies that have complex character development will build TsukiMoon's understanding of people and their emotions.
On the ground:
Unlike television, movies usually have a solution, which is an important part of the process to help Boo learn. TsukiMoon needs to see that there are solutions to the challenges that people face.
The choice to watch "October Sky" came out of TsukiMoon's interest in rockets. As mentioned in other parts of this blog, TsukiMoon's dad took him to a rocket day at a local airfield. We had done this earlier in TsukiMoon's life, when he was about 5 but not since. On happenstance when I was off at a knitting convention, Mr. TsukiMoon was reminded of Rocket Day at a near by airfield. They went to the house and got the rocket that was used when TsukiMoon was 5 and brought it to the launch pads set up on the tarmac.
This one small activity to fill time that day, turned into the latest obsession. We have watched "The Right Stuff" and "From the Earth to the Moon," to give a history lesson to the use of rockets. Then we remembered "October Sky."
It is tough to find a movie that doesn't have a whole lot of unsuitable language for a 9 year old. We don't mind swearing and regularly talk to TsukiMoon about the use of swear words, stating it is inappropriate to use them at his age. As a rule follower, we had easy buy in (for now). The challenge with any media is does the content more then what the child knows or, really, what I am willing to explain."October Sky" was a good choice.
TsukiMoon was enraptured with the story. It was helpful to watch a set of boys work through the challenges of rocketry. They had to work with people in the West Virginia mining town to get the parts they needed (read this as: teaching how to "communicate with others"), changed the design, then test, test, test their modified concept.
Does this help TsukiMoon immediately? Maybe, probably not. At the least it feeds his interest at the time. At the most it gives him one more piece of understanding of how people overcome challenges. It teaches that the tests we face as humans don't have to stop us, we persevere.
"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common then unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan, "Press On!" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race." --Calvin Coolidge