More Than One Right Answer

Does your student know that sometimes there are questions that seem to have no right or wrong answer? Today, let’s study a little geography and find out how that can possibly be.

When we talk about “America” most of us think of the United States. But many people in the rest of the world use the word “America” or the phrase “the Americas” interchangeably and by that phrase they’re referring to the entire western hemisphere; everything found in North America, South America and all of the associated islands and regions. Get out your world map or globe. We’re going to be explorers today- just like Amerigo Vespucci and Christopher Columbus!

Help your student encircle “the Americas” with his finger, tracing the entire north and south American continents.

Now what do we mean by “North America?” Usually, we define this is three nations: The United States, Canada and Mexico. Older students might be interested in learning more about NAFTA- the North American Free Trade Agreement between these three nations.

But if you Google “North America” you will quickly discover that there are many, many definitions of North America ranging from 3 nations, to 49 nations!!! The definition depends on whether or not you separate “Central America” from North America and South America- and it depends on including the many island nations and territories that are also found in the northern half of the western hemisphere such as Cuba, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, etc.

There are two points to today’s activities. First- to become more familiar with the geography which surrounds the United States, exploring the map to discover the many islands and territories which are our north American neighbors. The second is to discover that there are sometimes several “correct answers” to the same question.

For example, if you hold up a cube and ask a student how many sides the cube has you can get many different answers. A top side and a bottom side. Or an inside and an outside. Or a front side, back side, left side and right side. Or six sides. Or eight sides (by including the inside and outside), etc. ALL are correct in some ways- and all are incomplete in other ways.

In human relationships there are sometimes more than one right answer as well. What we perceive as “how it happened” may NOT be how our friend or sibling perceived things unfolded. That’s why it’s always so important to communicate clearly with one another and not jump to conclusions based on our own understanding or interpretation. Talk with your children about some recent misunderstanding where two people had two different understandings of a particular event or set of circumstances. Stress the value of understanding and patience when having such a discussion.

Proverbs 18: Particularly verses 2, 13 and 17

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