Monday, May 15, 2017

Parenthood: Week 204 - Kid’s Stuff

One of the reasons that Diana and I enjoy being parents so much is because we enjoy kid stuff. Diana is an avid reader and many of her favorite books are categorized as teen fiction. My desk is covered in actions figures and toys. I always take time to check out the toy aisle in Target. I used to be an avid comic book reader and I love many facets of geek culture. I’d be playing video games far more often if I had more free time. Also, Diana and I love watching great children films.

We both get to do kid stuff with our students every day and it’s a blast. Art and activities created for children have incredible potential for expression. Great art created for children requires the artist to use simple tools in effective and creative ways to create interest and drama. For example, a great children’s book can only utilize a limited vocabulary, so the words that are chosen need to be very carefully chosen and artfully arranged.

I remember the day that we got Ollie home from the hospital, I sat down to read to read him one of my favorite children's books. I realized quickly that he had little ability to see the book in front of him or have any idea what was going on at that young age, so after a couple pages of reading out loud to him and Ollie nodding off, I continued and finished reading the book for myself.

I’ve love watching Mister Roger’s Neighborhood with Ollie, going to children’s museums with him and playing with Ollie’s toys with him. And I’ve loved watching Diana get so much joy out of watching Diana experience all of this great art that is created for children with Ollie. We’ve been to a couple children’s concerts and children’s theater in the past couple months and Diana is eager to help Ollie enjoy the production.  In their enjoyment they share these experiences.

We both get our fill of stuff created for children, and I do get tired of listening to a song that Ollie is obsessed with or reading a book that Ollie wants me to reread for the fifth time in a row. What has helped is that this has been a two-way street. Ollie has gotten into some things that are not children’s songs, like Elton John’s music and much of the original broadway cast recording of Hamilton.

There’s so much more that we are looking forward to sharing with Ollie that are as much for him as it is for us. There’s Anne of Green Gables (movies and the books),  Harry Potter seires(again, movies and books), beautiful Anime, comic books, Legos, great animated television shows like Batman: The Animated Series, and parts of museums that he is only beginning to understand.

Last night I read This Little House by Virginia Lee Burton to Ollie. It was beautiful reading experience on par with the feeling of satisfaction I get from reading works by my favorite author John Steinbeck. It’s about reliving my childhood, it’s about my lifelong interest but it’s also about something more.

The best of us often comes out when we do for children. The same can be said for when we create for children. It is in the great art that we capture the optimism, and hope that not only nurtures the soul of children but also sustains the spirits for adults. In this art, we find the world that is worth fighting for, and the simple understanding that have the can create the bridges that we so desperately need to better understand each other.

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