I just got back from a week long business trip, so naturally the first thing I wanted to do was pin my twelve year old son Gabriel to the ground and tickle him until he either peed his pants or got really, really angry.
He opted for “really angry,” and punched me in the arm.
“Oh. God. Gabriel, that’s gonna leave a bruise!”
I held out the arm which he had barely tapped.
“Dad – really? You’re being a baby.”
“I can’t believe you just punched your father?!”
“That wasn’t even a real punch!”
“Then what was it?”
He sat up straight – daring to uncoil from the defensive fetal posture he had assumed – and patiently explained to me what had just happened.
“So when your arm approached my body, my receptor cells picked up that that was a threat, so they delivered what they felt to the sensory nerves and the sensory nerves made a transition to the motor neurons and told the brain that there was a threat nearby so the motor neurons and the spinal cord deliver electrical impulses that go to the brain and the brain – the interneurons in the brain –
- tell the forlobe of the brain what’s going on and they send the impulse back down the spinal cord and out to the limb that’s closest to the threat and it tells them to move as a quick reaction to what happens. It’s a reflex.”
“That reflex is going to leave a bruise.”
“Dad, I went like that,” Gabriel gestured, barely flicking his fist. “I’m sorry, dad.”
So – all you science brainiacs out there – is Gabriel’s 7th grade science teacher doing a good job?
Did my son correctly describe what he just did to his father?