Thinking mammals

Rector at prayer

Maryborough school students are impressive. I went in this morning for the usual Friday assembly, and was commandeered to talk to infants about bones, a topic that was exercising them today. After we’d named some bones, and felt them, the conversation went something like this:

me: why do you think we need bones
them: to make us stiff
me: what would happen if we didn’t have any
them: we’d be like jelly
me: do you know any creatures that are like jelly?
them: jellyfish
me: and why don’t they need bones?
them: they float in water.

Smart infants, aren’t they? With the whole school, the conversation developed.

me: if bones make us stiff, how do we move?
them: joints and muscles
me: and why do we need to move?
them: to look for food.

Spot on, eh? And when I asked them why babies cried, they said ‘for food’. That’s why communication developed in my humble opinion (though SWMBO says my opinion is never humble).

me: can you think why moving would be hard if we didn’t have bones and muscles?
them: gravity.

And there, boys and girls, you have it in a nutshell. Impressive, huh?

The theme of the assembly was food, so we discussed different sorts of food: fruit, veg, cow, pig, sheep, octopus, squid, fish, crab. Even worms. Some of them told me about carbohydrates which moved us on to carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. Some of them knew that methane was found in farts (the young ones had left by this stage, but I expect someone will complain). Some of them knew about cartilage and bone. The seniors told me we were mammals, and they knew that meant that mothers produce milk. Oh, the joys of being surrounded by people not yet disconnected from the earth. I told them that the milk-producing organ is the mammary gland. Presumably that’s why mothers are mammies, though I didn’t say that. The other thing I didn’t say was that the reason we move and seek food is in order to reproduce. That’s for secondary school pupils. What has this to do with church? Answer: everything. Work it out yourself.

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