Child’s Play

We took our son to a community drop off play centre. He is just over a year old and was the youngest walking person there. He had a great time meeting the other kids. A little girl gave him a ball and a little boy came up to him to say “Hi”. There were lots of kids who came up to me — to look, to smile and say some profound statements of how there day was going.

I keep forgetting how social people are. Hidden under a email and ipod touches, assaulted by news coverage which tells us how bad others are in our world and faced with time deadlines at work, there is hardly a moment given to connecting.

My wife noticed the difference when she came from India. There are people always out on the street and they will always talk to you -even if you don’t want them to. But, in North American culture, approaching the stranger is a formidable exercise and best left to times of emergency.

But, the kids reminded me how easy it is. Just approach with a smile and no agenda.

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3 responses to “Child’s Play

  1. D'Arcy Norman March 20, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    over a year already! wow. time flies!

    kids are innocent, until they’re taught otherwise. It’s pretty impressive just how trusting they are, when they’re very young.

    north americans are trained that “stranger = danger” and that every adult that you don’t know is a pedophile child molester waiting to kidnap any minor that happens to glance their way. we’re trained that the world is 27 bajillion times more dangerous now than when we were kids. we’re trained to trust nobody because WHAT IF SOMETHING BAD HAPPENED? OMG! FEAR! HATRED! AFRAIDNESS!

    We have to work hard to let Evan have the same space we had when we were kids. He spent almost an hour last night exploring the trees behind our house, out of sight. He needs to do that, but it’s something we’re conditioned to not be comfortable with (I was _very_ comfortable with it – it’s awesome that he’s off exploring on his own, talking to the people that he passes, and being _alone_ without his parental safety net).

  2. niransab March 21, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    We have to work hard to let Evan have the same space we had when we were kids.

    I think we (as a society) have lost something at the same time we gained some impressive technology. Our world has become smaller, less filled with wonder and more fear filled. When we were kids, we wondered all over the place – no scheduled games and a whole bunch of unstructured time.

    “Many overscheduled kids are anxious, angry and burned out,” notes child psychiatrist Alvin Rosenfeld,
    The Joy Of Doing nothing

    Science backs this up: unstructured play time is more important for learning and happiness than homework (especially when kids are as young as mine are — first and third grades!). But kids today spend less time just playing, both indoors and out. All told, children have lost 8 hours per week of free, unstructured, and spontaneous play over the last two decades.
    Science for raising happy kids

    In the drive to be better than the next parent, we have insulated our kids from real life and made them stressed out doing way more “things” that should make them “better”. Your comment of giving them space is really important. Give them enough space and their brains will develop.

  3. slc April 28, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    Hi Bud!

    Long time no visit. With the new computer I lost instant contact, but just took the time to find you again. Now I’m hooked in again. So glad to be. Love this post. Hurray for play!!! And hurray for smiling at strangers!!! I think it makes them happy. And that makes me happy. (Apparently I’m disgustingly selfish.)

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