I marvel at the creativity and imagination of children. In the absence of gadgets, electronics and the like, the younger ones still manage to find something interesting, even if it involves playing with an empty box. They see castles and dragons; and rescue damsels in distress. They traverse mountains, soar with eagles, and hit the game winning homerun. It so simple. Yet beautifully creative.
As parents, we sometimes fail to recognize our children's awesome powers. I witness it all the time. For instance, awhile ago I was at my barber, waiting for my turn in the chair. Two children, were in the waiting area, playing, while their mother sat just a few feet away watching a television program. The children had taken three ottomans and pulled them together and were pretending to be on a train. One of the children sat proudly at the front and proclaimed herself to be the engine. The other child joined in as the caboose. It was wonderfully imaginative. And they were well behaved, speaking quietly among themselves. And then mom intervened.
She glared at them and said, "Quit messing with the furniture, come sit next to me and watch the TV." They obliged. And a beautiful moment was ruined. I couldn't figure out what benefit a child could get out of watching Judge Judy, Alex, or any one of the many judges that adjudicate reality programs during the day, but apparently the mother saw something of value that I did not. I just shook my head and quietly waited my turn in the barber's chair.
There are so many messages hitting children daily that it saddens me when as parents or adults we choose technology over imagination. We allow our televisions to baby sit, our iPads to entertain them, and our Xboxes to keep them engaged. And when they imagine, or create new worlds, instead of rewarding their creativity we try to get them to fit into our normal and then tag them as ADHD or autistic.
And while such conditions do exist, we tend to exaggerate them in our children and readily tag them as "different". To get them to our "normal" we take them to therapists and fill them full of Adderall or Ritalin. For those that haven't noticed, it should come as no surprise to learn that kids are always active. Sometimes very active. Kids have imaginations. Sometimes beautifully bizarre imaginations. Kids don't have to fit into our 8 to 5 routine. Their minds don't have to accept the world as we see it. They'll get there. One day. All by themselves. And they won't need Ritalin or Adderall to do so.
Maybe instead of a drug, we can just join them in a game of hide and seek. And marvel at their creativity and imagination.