Monday, February 02, 2009

Fun, fun, fun!

Dear Fellow Parent,

If you could peek inside your child's imagination, what would you see? Silly animals . . . castles and princesses . . . wishing stars and rainbows . . . towering birthday cakes and giant ice cream cones? Whatever might be hidden in there, no doubt it would be colorful, creative and fun, fun, FUN!

No, the blog didn't get hijacked, I'm just quoting from a current piece of junk mail.

Have these people ever been children? Have they ever had a child? This is not how I thought as a child; if the occasional random comments of the ducklings go by, it is not how my children think either. Left unassisted, the child's imagination is a mix of the curious, macabre ("You're dead so we have to eat by ourselves."), and mundane ("Let's play the place we drop off stuff we don't want anymore.") with a distinct lack of cutesy oversized animals in primary colors.

Children's imagination is not primarily a way to escape from the world; it's the way they make sense of the world. Mostly it looks like the real world combined in peculiar ways as they try to understand it without all the data yet.

This book is promoting how a certain kind of adult thinks children ought to imagine things. And if my recollection of being a child is anything to go on, children HATE that kind of adult, though most of them are too polite to say so.

I think we'll pass. The ducklings will have to survive without someone else's idea of fun, fun, FUN!


the Joneses said...

Well, I did spend a lot of time daydreaming about flying unicorns, a castle in the clouds, and a rainbow road down to the earth. No doubt these were influenced by the type of adult you mention above, but I sure did like it.

In general, though, I dislike this type of thinking, because as you point out, it's not actually the way kids think. It appeals to them once they're told about it, but they usually don't create giant ice cream cones themselves.

I feel the same way about decorators who do up rooms to "appeal to kids," which translated means, "appeal to my idea of kids."

-- SJ

Kelly said...

Good post - children are never limited to those sorts of things - they have an expansive world. They don't think in terms of dreams or imagination - they don't know that it's not real. They haven't lost their wonder yet...

Steve said...

Corporate fun, prepackaged - one size fits all!!

Thanks for breaking the mold.

CappuccinoLife said...

lol. Castles and primary colors, ha!

My kid's imaginations are filled with John Deer tractors, massive highway pileups ("Cwashshsh! Cwashshsh!"), yes, occasionally death.

I get asked a lot of questions like "Hey mama, what would happen if I fell down the stairs? Climbed up a telephone pole? Slept standing on my head?"