Having just passed the one year mark with my blog yesterday I got to thinking about kids. The above photo of me I used on my magician’s website with the caption “Destiny” since the pose and costume seemed to map out the future of an illusionist when in fact I was reaching for someone or something because I was tired of bouncing up and down next to that chair.
That was a simpler time. My mom probably didn’t freak out because I wasn’t walking by nine months. I have spent the majority of my adult life teaching or entertaining kids and I have watched the changes of expectations and demands placed on them. Up until the age of five, when we went to kindergarten, we had one thing on the agenda-playing. Now that’s not to say my mom and dad didn’t read to us, teach us numbers or letters, I in fact don’t remember; I remember the playing part. We even got time to play and nap in kindergarten. I don’t think that happens anymore.
I am amazed when I have done shows at Montessori schools to see what and how their learning. I just wonder if it’s too fast. When I was teaching gymnastics, a parent in the mom and tot’s class asked if I would write a letter of recommendation for her child’s pre-school entrance application. I was about 24, clueless as to what that would look like, and luckily spared because I was not high enough on the food chain and my name could not be connected with the school on a document like that. I don’t know if the director actually did it or now, but all I could think was what to write.
“When he says ‘chase me’ I do. And he runs.”
“His ability to connect laughing with being tickled is right on track with his development.”
“His (literal) grasp of the bar shows an advanced grip position and strong promise in his confidence and ability to problem solve.”
When I’ve heard my friends talk about their children’s schedules of soccer games and practices and extracurricular activities, I’m tired just listening. I don’t know if it will produce better children because they can run circles around most adults on the computer by the time they’re in first grade. The fact is that those kids that I taught in my early 20s are just now getting out of college and becoming part of the work force and society. As we well know, many people do not address emotional issues from their childhood until well into their adulthood when they can afford therapy and have finally reached a point where they can say they don’t approve of what their parents did.
So will that generation and the ones that follow that are getting even more technology and demands into their lives become amazing leaders, thinkers and doers? Or will one day will all of them collectively drop to the floor, on their stomachs, kicking their legs and beating their fists and crying like the little kids they never got to be?
I don’t know, but if it happens, I hope they want to read and laugh. I’ll be there.