How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

KIDDO-VISION

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Children have an incredible ability. They can see whatever they want to see. Much like politicians. When they look at molehills, they see mountains. They grab a broomstick and it magically transforms into a sword. We’ve all used this power before, even if we can’t remember it, but it’s vital for kids. And it’s desperately misunderstood.

If nothing else, childhood should be about imagination and discovery, but sometimes, well, let’s just say it borders on delusion by adult standards. Kids will grab a handful of leaves pretending it’s wholesome food or dive into your arms to escape the horrible sounds of monsters scratching at the window. It’s a fine line, that dreamy state, between invention and reality but it’s a powerful place to be.

Honestly, I don’t think the delusions, if we are to refer to imagination in a coarse way, are the problem. I don’t think we need to stamp out our kids’ wild declarations about the world being made of gummy bears or the fact that they identify themselves as a kitten every now and again. The true test of whether a delusion is harmful or not, for my money, is whether we realize our ownership of them. Whether we know we’re creating them, willingly.

So what if we could all have the power to look through our kids’ eyes for a moment?

Would we become timid mice on a search for cheese or courageous adventurers jumping a couch chasm diving deep into a pit of lava pillows? Or would we just sit asking ourselves why we were self-deluding? Give it a ‘go’ and imagine for a moment that you are looking through your child’s eyes. Right now. See what they see. As they see it. From their height. Think as they might think. It might be quite an enlightening experience to realize that big people are everywhere telling them what to do or who to be. All the time.

We, as grown-ups, think in our own terms of protection and making sure we snap each other back to “the real world” and I don’t mean the show on MTV. Even now, you’re saying to yourself, ‘SHUT UP CHARLIE. THAT’S SILLY.’ Nothing great was ever achieved without some modicum of silliness or ridiculousness. Otherwise, it would be status quo.

It’s a fun exercise to capture our kids’ point of view, but it carries a great depth. You might just realize kids are adults in tiny bodies without the privileges or responsibilities we have, trying to gain a foothold on this crazy planet with the limited knowledge they have to hand.

I don’t envy them. It’s hard being small. And yet I yearn to see through their eyes so I could use my unrestrained imagination to create a more enjoyable world. Real or imagined.

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6 Comments

6 Responses to “KIDDO-VISION”

  1. Chris says:

    Great post. Any parent who doesn’t crawl on the floor and pretend to be a puppy or let their kid play a fly swatter guitar or jump into their kid’s cardboard box boat/rocket/car is not only missing out on incredible bonding time, but also is actively squashing their child’s innate creativity. They’ll have plenty of time to be grown up and face real world problems soon enough. Let them be a kid and be a kid with them. It’s pretty awesome if you try it.

  2. Jo says:

    It IS hard being little. But it’s much harder being big, which is why we MUST allow our children to BE children as long as possible. Too often parents push there kids to do this or that. With the, “I can’t wait til Jr. does this” and “I can’t wait til Jr. does that”. It’s sad because all too often they don’t take time to enjoy what’s going on in the now. And the now…it just doesn’t last very long. Not long enough if you ask me…

  3. Laura says:

    Over Thanksgiving my husband and I played quite a bit with my five-year-old niece. When we started with the dolls, I thought “Oh dear, how long can we keep this up?” I was surprised to find it was never boring and I even found myself really getting into the stories we were creating! Playing with kids can warp your sense of time and space in a great way.

  4. The trick for grownups is to visit that magical, imaginary place and bring some of the pixie dust back to sprinkle over that “real world.” Good post, Charlie. It’s an especially good exercise for writers and other artists.

  5. I had to read this awesome book called “Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul” for a University Class- I highly recommend it for any parent (it actually has a whole chapter on parenting that we skipped in class, but I read over the summer!)

    I listed the amazon link as my “website”

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