Eff's Rambles (Archive)

9/15/2005

Kids and Reality

I suppose it is easier for parents and full time caregivers, if anything is really easy, but for those of us that only watch children occasionally, it is much harder. What I speak of is communication with the imaginative but irrational minds of the young. The concern, as I have heard and read many state it, is that we supress that irrationality to the detriment of children. I think there is some truth to that. I used to have stronger and more frequent dreams. I used to be afraid of shadows and superstitions which I see more and more as silly. Have I matured? Not enough. And I do not proclaim myself to be the most rational and logical man alive. My ineptness at figuring out simply logic puzzles proves to me that I am no Spock. Still, I have some longing for those days when a shadow was as much sorceror's portal as it is the result of scientific principl . I am glad that I have some decent reasoning skills, but I feel incomplete. As I age, I think that I shall continue to want to go back to old dreams, maybe even the nightmares, to see
  • her
  • again.

    But, as much as I miss it, I find it difficult to interact with children that are still in that mode where they still believe in emerald palaces and magic swords. With limited time, my natural impatience, and my tendency to forget and not appreciate the value I see now, the seeming nonsense from a child loses some of its adorable charm and becomes an unwanted exercise in trying to make sense of what they are saying.

    I am often interested in the truth. Children are not logically consistent, though they might believe what they say is true. Their minds are susceptable. Ask a child how its day was and this what you might find: that it had dreams, dreams which sometimes seem to relate to the last thing they looked at, even if it was the first time they had ever seen it. And that pattern of claims about dreams and events in this world that occur prior to the influential experience, or before, but with the dubiousness of their validity still present, stays. For them, laws of time and probability, indeed, the very idea of being realistic, means far less than they do to us. And the problem in all of this is that when you have such limited time and want to be sure you understand the child, trying to decipher their stories is not so much the joy it should be. It turns more into a task. It is not so easy to cultivate the creative mind and keep it growing as some think. It is not easy to help with that, high minded ideals not withstanding.

    But, of course, those are my views.

    4 Comments:

    • What a beautiful post, Eff.

      Truly.

      Might I be so forward as to ask what prompted this one? I know, obviously, what prompted my most recent effort but I wouldn't presume to guess what it was that prompted this entry.

      If it makes it any easier for you, depending on the age of the child, they appreciate it more when you bring them up to your level rather than when you try to regress to theirs. They expect adults to behave as adults unless they specifically request that you play with them. That's when you have to abandon your reality and try to share theirs.

      I'd like to explore this with you a bit more if you're willing.

      By Blogger Rat, at 9/18/2005 10:09:00 AM  

    • For me, a few things inspired this. Belated consideration of old claims I remembered. And, my niece, whom you can trust to say she's had a nightmare about something. Finally, about her, I once trying to inquire if she had any paranormal experiences. er story was interesting, but then it fell into the absurd. I don't remember it well enough to explain how.

      To the extent that I want to explore this, I think that's ok, but in keeping with it being general, using fictional characters.

      By Blogger Eff, at 9/18/2005 01:41:00 PM  

    • Given how much time I've spent around kids, the limitations of their experiences makes it easier to use a generality rather than try to invent a fictional situation.

      One kid I knew was busy trying to tell me how certain words came into being - me, a wordsmith! It was excrutiating, but after about 15 minutes - when indication was given that the original subject had well and truly been done to death - I asked how to spell - then made a noise with my mouth, then made other noises with other objects on tables, boxes, plates, glasses, the fridge door, coins, bottles - anything I could find. Naturally yon kid had a go too, that's when it was discovered that the letter D was consistently associated with some sounds, S with others, ING with still more.

      We kept that game going for 3 hours uninterrupted until the smell of dinner being served reminded us we were bloody starving.

      But that first 15 minutes - my god it was like having my eyes removed with a corn fork.

      By Blogger Rat, at 9/20/2005 06:20:00 AM  

    • You have for more patience than me. Still, I think I expect too much, even for kids to be far better than I was, and my intelligence, whatever it ranks as now, was not of any noteworthiness before.

      I think we often expect for concepts to be grasped within a few minutes, or by the next day. But our teaching methods, the nutrition children receive, thier mental health, all affect their ability to learn. I am by no means a well qualified teacher; no better than anyone else.

      I find it difficult to not speak above children. Condescension is something I try to avoid. But is it condescension in all cases? No, I am sure it is not, but speaking at a level that heavily simplifies makes me uncomfortable.

      Furthermore on the ability to learn, part of the problem is the worry that sets in, I suppose from inexperience, that the child might not be able to handle what we think of as simple mental tasks. We hope it is just a case of the child feeling bored. But it could be something else.

      By Blogger Eff, at 9/20/2005 12:59:00 PM  

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