Forewarning, this is not my typical post. This is a bit of a rant and one that I will not be citing my information for. If I was trying to write a document for a college class, I would, but this is just me... This has nothing to do with my writings, myths, legends, or any of the sort. Or perhaps it does... it is seeming more obvious to me that while we have a proliferation of technology and "knowledge", that our culture as a whole is loosing something in our up and coming generations. Imagination.
For reference, I am in my late 20s, I have multiple small children and frequent make-believe play, sword fights, and dragon slaying as an almost daily occurrence in my house. I have no qualm with getting on the floor and rolling around with the kids. :)
As a child, I grew up believing in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter bunny. But now, some "experts" say this is wrong to do to kids. That somehow because I'm "lying" to my kids by having them believe and prepare for what essentially goes beyond religious holidays and goes back to pre-Christian times... I don't think my parents did a disservice to me. Some of my fondest memories as a child were making cookies and fudge for Santa or dyeing Easter eggs, but current knowledge would say: "Nope, don't make cookies for Santa. In fact you shouldn't eat cookies at all." (Is cookie monster still eating salad? Probably... I'm not sure.)
This leads into the issue of the lack of art, fiction, music etc. in schools in the United States. Sure, my children are all under the age of 10, but I understand that a lot of fiction is in the process of being eliminated from High schools as "unnecessary". I am all for education and learning core classes, but why isn't art part of core knowledge? A semester or two of Art in four years of High School is a joke. We have enough young adult people on anxiety medications that are overstressed, time starved, etc... most had some form of artistic outlet that now as adults they fail to have time for. Why? Is it all the fault of schools, government, etc. No. But did it get pushed down and deemed not important? I think so.
My last four years of schools was chock full of "Get ready for college, Take your SAT, GET READY FOR THE STATE TESTS! ..." As time goes on, I feel the only preparation that is really happening in our schools is how to bubble in a scantron for the aforementioned "State Tests". The lack of personalities in this overran smartphone zombie world has to be reaching a pinnacle... perhaps this is why zombie movies have became so popular... oh and again, this is a rant. My apologies.
From the time my children were able to understand make-believe, my wife and I have pushed for them to draw, create, explore, and as they get older, write their own stories. My wife and I both write so it makes sense our kids would have this same desire. As much as we do this, watching a fictional movie with our kids can sometimes become more an episode of "Mythbusters". It's great that the kids are curious to want to know how everything works but at one point is it too much? Everything has to be figured out? Cool. Lets do it. Lets figure it out.
How does Santa have flying reindeer?
I dunno, maybe it is elven magic? Or do you think that maybe his reindeer have wings?
Oh, like Pegasus?
Maybe. I'm not too sure. Maybe you should draw a picture or write a story and try to figure it out!? Use your imagination.
Is this wrong of me? I don't think so or I wouldn't do it. I must teach my children that there is more to this world than simply worldly things. Following numerous news outlets on Facebook, I get enough of the world. My job gives me enough of the world. I know about this world and while I'm teaching my kids as much about life as I can, I'm also exposing them to music and art of all kinds. My wife and I can't expect a school to do it and we sure as heck can't expect anyone else to... Playing outside, drawing, dancing to all kinds of music.... this isn't just good for kids. Adults could benefit too.
That's what I'm trying to teach my kids in hope that they will continue you doing it in adulthood. Imagination may be under attack but if it wasn't for imagination the movies we watch, the music we hear, and the world we experience would not exist. Knowledge and imagination go together. We must keep both alive in both our hearts and minds... we need more art, more songs, and more fiction... textbooks may teach the rules but its the imagination that creates the end result...
Join the J.T. Williams mailing list to be notified of new releases and other news!