I am a big fan of learning. Everything, all the time. I've drowned in the rabbit hole of wikipedia context links many times and learned a lot of trivia both on accident and on purpose. So a few months ago, I decided to try something new internal to my family (currently counting 2.5, including myself). We started Teaching Tuesday.
Every Tuesday (in theory, in practice in turned out to be "once per week") I would pick a random topic they would never in reality be exposed to, write a presentation around it 15 to 40 minutes in duration, and present it to my growing family.
The reception so far (3 sessions) has been very positive.
- your family members learn something they'd never be exposed to otherwise
- someone might find a new hobby among these topics
- it's quality family time as it encourages discussion, critical thinking, and members getting to know each other, rather than just staring at the TV
- the presenter gets some awesome semi-improvisational presentation experience and begins to feel more confident in regards to presenting on short notice
Here are the topics I've covered so far:
#1 The Tanganyka Laughter Epidemic
Mainly dealing with cases of Mass Hysteria of differing effects, durations and types, this presentation dealt with the Tanganyka laughter epidemic in which an entire community got infected with paralyzing laughter. Similar cases happened in the USA and other high-chaos high-stress countries when a lot was expected of the populace en-masse, but there have been other, more curious examples throughout history like the ancient dancing plague of the middle ages during which people danced and sometimes orgied en-masse until death from exhaustion.
#2 How does the Atomic Clock work?
I had always been fascinated by this concept but even after spending hours to learn about it some questions still remained unanswered and ungoogleable. To be honest, without answers to those key questions (see end of slideshow) the whole thing still sounds like sci-fi mumbo jumbo straight out of a Star Trek episode.
#3 Dazzle-painting ships to confuse submarines
This talk deals with a brief history of submarines in order to present them as a viable threat to military ships. Then, it explains a peculiar way in which some navies dealt with this threat before the advent of sonars, radars, and satellites: by hiding in plain sight.
I truly encourage you to try the same. And if you're thinking "but when?", consider Sunday morning. It's a much, much healthier and morally correct way to spend a Sunday morning than going to Church, for example, and it gives family members ample material for Monday morning watercooler talk :)