Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life …
For this week’s Each Other/Where in the World? Beginner Level Young Cultivator Merit Badge, I wrangled me some Piper.
Just call me the Child Wrangler.
(Just don’t call me late for dinner.)
I was itchin’ to do this badge with her because I hadn’t yet attempted the grown up farmgirl version of it: National Geography. I wanted to ease my way in, so to speak. Why? Well, let’s just say geography isn’t my strong suit.
And if you teach someone to fish for a day, you teach yourself … how to fish for a day as well. Or something like that.
Also, expressions aren’t my strong suit, either.
Anyway, Piper was excited about this one because she recently been gifted a huge stack of paper maps. Most were from old back issues of National Geographic magazine and they were mostly in good shape. She’d used some already … to make paper fans, paper dolls, homemade envelopes, line her dresser drawers, and turn into paper airplanes with which she accosted nearby bystanders (like me). In spite of all that … um, geography, she had yet to do anything with her maps along the lines of what the good cartographer had intended them for: hanging them up on her walls for study purposes.
Map of Eastern Europe, 1836, public domain via Wikimedia Commons
Armed with thumbtacks, we set about hanging the two most important ones: one of the United States, and one of the whole world. Hung right at eye level near her bed, I figured she would be doing a lot of learning and memorizing by osmosis.
And you know what they say: If you judge a fish a day by its ability to climb osmosis trees, it will spend its whole life believing it’s a stupid tree. Albert Einstein said that. Or something along those lines.
While I was staring intently at the map of America (When did North Dakota move over there? Has it always been there? Weird.), Piper was hanging up her own personal favorite map, one of Neverland.
You know, where Captain Hook reigns and the Lost Boys run amuck.
I was pretty sure this map had not been published by National Geographic, but I had to admit, it was a beautifully drawn map. Complete with crocodiles and flying pirate ships and mermaids! I was a little jealous and used a nearby crayon to add some mermaid doodles to North Dakota. It vastly improved the scenery.
Peter Pan, 1915, public domain via Wikimedia Commons
While Piper is not yet ready for the National Geography Bee, she had memorized quite a lot the next time I saw her. She knew the capitals of most states by their handy-dandy star icon, she knew which ocean was on which side of America, and she had added a sock to the boot-shaped Italy. She also knew the way to Neverland.
“Second star to the right,” she said, gravely, “And straight on till morning.”
We’re currently working on our flying ship to get there.