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Marcus’s Birthday

A third of the children on the island came to Marcus’s birthday party yesterday. There’re 28 school aged children on the island. Marcus is in first grade, which is equivalent age-wise to kindergarden in the US. There’re 10 students from grade 1 to 4, and they’re in the same “home room”. All of them came.

Marcus Turns 6

We love the kids on this island. They’re extraordinarily good natured. On school-wide hiking trip, Marcus said he was tired. In most other places, it’d be cause for jeering, especially since Marcus is the smallest kid and new to the island. Here, the bigger kids took turns to carry him on their backs. The daughter of our next door neighbor would sit on the backseat of a bicycle to balance it while teaching Nora how to ride.

At recess, everyone in the school from age 6 to 16 play the same game together. A popular game is a døball, which is similar to baseball. The older kids often bend the rules for the smaller ones and cheer them on when they do something right. I watched a whole game once. No fighting. No yelling. No pushing. Remarkable.

It’s not a Norwegian thing. It’s not even a Rødøy thing: people here told us that it wasn’t always like this. It’s something special with this particular group. It’s chemistry and leadership (from the older students in this case), both of which are necessary in forming good group dynamics.

It was a good party which ended with 12 children playing kick-the-can, a rather large group for the game. Nobody got upset. Nobody cried.

  1. #

    Beautiful story…and happy birthday,Marcus!

    September 25, 2011
  2. Wow, what an extraordinary group of kids! I wonder if they grow up to be adults with a great understanding of morality, too..!

    September 26, 2011
  3. fashionnation1on1 #

    Happy Birthday, Marcus. We hope it is fine with you that we shared a part of your story on our own blog.

    We are me, Trish (a teacher of fashion design and production at El Paso Community College) and my students. We are working on a collection of boys clothes this semester and we are inspired by Marcus and his new friends. We hope this is fine with you but if for any reason you should want us to take down our post, please email me at .

    I have been reading about the children of this time. I understand that Generation G (for grace) care more about the true and important things in life. With Mom’s like you, I can see why a new generation is upon us!!

    September 27, 2011
    • This is fine. I’m the father, not the mother. These children here are special, and I don’t think the reflect the current generation, which tends to be far more self-absorbed than my generation.

      September 27, 2011
  4. Thanks so much for getting back to me, I really appreciate you!! You must be an excellent father. My students were very impressed that you were spending a year in the Arctic with your children. I also agree that most kids are very self-centered today. I hope that there are enough thoughtful people growing up to keep the world in great working order.

    Have a wonderful year!!

    September 30, 2011

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