Once Upon A Time….

If you know the story of Mary Poppins  you’ll know that the children could only understand what the birds were saying when they were very young. Open hearts and minds; unfettered by responsibility, or yearning to be anything other than what they were; gave them a portal to endless wonders. Explanations were unnecessary – imagination a tool rather than a task. Peter Pan never grew up, Alice disappeared down a rabbit hole, and Dorothy travelled to Oz.

My early years were spent in those places. Never bored or at a loss for what to do, nothing seemed impossible. I devoured Greek mythology,  could name every constellation in the night sky. There were forts to build, tunnels to dig, hollow logs to explore. I wasn’t afraid of trolls or goblins, I knew how to avoid their tricks. Fairies danced for me every evening, certain it was just a matter of time until they invited me for tea.

Not odd in any way, I  grew up in a time of wonder from within. My spark wasn’t plugged into a wall, I didn’t need a new video game, most certainly wasn’t gripped by panic if unplugged.Content with exploring the world, happily able to understand every word the birds said.

Sentiment best described as sadness breaks my heart. Babies plunked in front of “baby TV” before they eat solid food, gadgets, electronic diversions,modern static obliterating all hope of talking to the birds.  Children go digital before taking their first steps; how could they ever join fairies for tea. Imagination replaced by instant gratification, flashing lights and computer graphics. Watch a child howl in frustration, throwing their Playstation controller across the room in fits of rage when they don’t complete a level – ask yourself why Attention Deficit Disorder has become epidemic.

I’m certain I wouldn’t be who I am today had I not searched every tree stump for fairies.Hours spent with an eye to the world created acceptance of endless possibilities.  Imagination and wonder are the tools needed to create open minds. We’re hammering that door shut and don’t seem to realize how devastating it is.

The fairies are extremely pissed off.

 

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23 thoughts on “Once Upon A Time….

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. Excellent post! We didn’t however have fairies in Australia. The bush wasn’t really a place for such dainty, delicate creatures. We had mischievous Mimi’s, crazy Bunyips, and the terrifying Yara-ma-yha-who.

  2. The fairies are pissed! I love that!

    As a parent, I refused to allow my daughter to get a PlayStation, like all of her friends. I simply told her that she was welcome to buy one when she went to work and paid for it with her own money. As soon as she got her first paycheck she went out an bought one. She played it for about a month and then it only came out occasionally when friends came over. A year later she sold it. I think I won that battle and she has lots of creativity…yeah!

    As a teacher, I encourage parents to ration out their TV/computer viewing. For every 30 minutes of being hooked up they had two hours of out door, extroversion type activity. I was lucky to have been a private school teacher with a lot of altitude with the parents of my students. I don’t know whether this had any lasting effect on them but when they were in my care, they were voracious readers, physically fit and creative up the wazoo. Interested in life and the environment. I felt good about that.

    I see kids now-a-days and I have that same sadness. I see people who can’t communicate, lack manners and expect the world to deliver whatever they want. I don’t see enough people out there creating future and expanding horizons. Proof of that is what is popular on television and the movies…zombies and reality shows. We have created a society of spectators.

    I’m with the fairies on this one!

    • My husband and I debated this subject long and hard the other night. Our conclusion being that children want to hear the birds and talk to the fairies but we (society) have created an electronic vacuum that’s impossible to see beyond.
      Not just video games – electronic toys, talking books, interactive everything…
      Our kids imagine, but in a way that doesn’t allow their minds eye to wander outside the parameters of marketing strategies.
      More and more I see children who need to constantly be entertained and it scares the daylights out of me.

    • I was going to explain why how I think you’re wrong, espousing the “when I was younger…[insert something your generation supposedly did better]”. And talk about my eight year old daughter, a whiz with tablet, phone and surfing the web – but 1. I’m not going to be the person who argues his point based on one observation, and 2. Because I read Mrs. P’s comment, specifically “I don’t see enough people out there creating future and expanding horizons.”
      I worked in public education, as a teacher and support staff. On more than a few occasions, I’ve half jokingly told a fellow educator “I fear for the future” after a particularly boneheaded display from a student. Is technology to blame? Perhaps. Maybe not technology in and of itself, but the attitude surrounding technology. Used to be (now I’m talking like that), if you wanted to watch a movie you’d have to go to a rental shop, now you can check Amazon video, Netflix, Vudu, HBO ondemand, Hulu…to get it RIGHT NOW(!)
      The idea of “good things come to those who wait” (one of the truest maxims, IMHO) is totally lost. How will these kids enjoy tomorrow when they are so engrossed by RIGHT NOW(!)
      I have to stop now, I could go on forever.

      • Oh, but you opened a can of worms! No fair pulling out now. 😉
        I agree with all the positives of technology. I love the internet…my library on the go, accessible whenever I need it. That instant information has allowed me to learn more things faster and I have been able to accomplish things I only dreamed of doing. My theory is that I can do it, anyone else can too.

        I am not anti-technology. Technology is wonderful, computers are a tool and if used as a tool, then I have no problem. You hit it on the head about the attitude surrounding it and the need for instant gratification.

        It shows up in our daily interaction with others, cultivation and nurture have been thrown out the window. We have become a loud, brass and crass society. This need for “instant” has resulted in a lot of negative talk being spewed around the globe in a matter of seconds. The positive just doesn’t get people riled up enough to spread it like wildfire…though there are many people who diligently put forth upworthy post, reminding us that things can be better if we allow ourselves to be happy, strong, creative, etc.

        I have watched the world become an angry place, getting angrier every day but the one place where the world isn’t angry is out there in nature. People who surround themselves with nature are generally happier. They live simpler lives and creativity is manual, not computerized. Yes, this is a generalization but I bet if you looked, you’d see some truth in it.

        Balance is what is needed. technology has given us so many advances in medicine that I just can’t throw it out the window. Because of technology, I am talking to you right now…and I am married to my husband, living in Florida. Without technology, none of this would have happened.

        Oh, and by the way…When I was young we would either go to the movie theater or the drive in if we wanted to see a show. 😀

      • Truth be told, I read this several hours ago, instinct shelved it for sub conscious consideration. There it percolated until Mrs. P commented. Then I re-read this comment, fascinated by your initial “I was going to” reaction. My lament isn’t technology, it’s the loss of unadulterated wonder. In hindsight I realize Once Upon A Time might come across as “my generation did better”. This led to a conclusion -“wonder” of my mind has no frame of reference for those decades younger. Wonder is fluid, it springs from cumulative influences of real time societal norms. Technology being our modern norm, dictates technologically driven “wonder”. Childhood wonder driven by technology serves many purposes, it broadens horizons, sharpens motor skills, exposes kids to diversity and connects our world – it doesn’t feed the soul. Sigh.
        PS – thanks for the follow 🙂

    • I’m with you on medical technology – among other things, I’m part machine. If interested, read more here: https://braininjourney.com/2011/07/04/miclog-8-the-exorcist-part-pee/ (shameless plug, I know). Notestoponder’s comment was spot on methinks. Perhaps this post wasn’t meant as a rant against technology, it seemed to imply that having our heads buried in tablets, phones, and Pokemon Go :). I do think the implication that those closer to nature are happier is erroneous, simpler is a good word.

      If I may, I’m gonna redirect the topic of conversation to the recent shootings and how technology (esp. Social media) seems to be partly to blame. Certainly, if we lived simpler lives, this may not have happened – but the internet continues to feed the urgency of NOW(!) Feeding us half truths and unsubstantiated “facts” in order to be the most “NOW(!)”.

      I think I’m digressing again. My point, I reckon, is that the faeries indeed are mad and, as Thoreau said “Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.”

      • I need to complete a thought from that comment. “It seemed to imply that having our heads buried in tablets, phones, and Pokemon Go”, swallows one’s soul.

      • Agree completely. I’m so disgusted with social media’s role in perpetuating conflict. I don’t even want to talk about it any more…simplify is something I can get into! 😀

        My best friend’s son has TBI. May I ask what caused yours?

  3. I was a 90s baby, so I grew up in the middle where imagination and the growth of technology were constantly colliding. Sega, nintendo’s, gameboy’s, playstations, you name it, my household had it, usually in two’s because my older brother and I failed to get along… But despite that, my fondest memories are those times I spent going on adventures with my mostly male group of friends. We’d create mischief, games, pranks, and come home sweaty with scathed knees, and dirty faces after playing “street footy/soccer/cricket”, or wandering the mangroves.

    We had the infamous Mango Man where I grew up. It was one of those stories passed on from generation to generation to scare youngsters, so he was our version of trolls and goblins.

    I worry about how kids are going to grow up in such a place where everyone is attached to screens, and are constantly demanding bigger, better, faster. I know that if I am lucky enough to have a family of my own I will seriously try to limit how much technology they’re exposed to early on – even if it does provide relief from parenting hahah

    Phew, long winded comment! Ahh.. stock standard for me, I can’t hold my tongue once I get started!

    • Wowza – you’re a sapling! I have a daughter older than you. I’m 53 – sigh. I digress..

      I was lucky enough to have been raised in a world where imagination came from within rather than without. I never experienced throwing a game controller across the room in frustration when I didn’t clear a level. My imagination wasn’t defined in pixels.No matter how busy we are we have to let our kids talk to the birds and play with the fairies – anything less and the world will soon be a very dull place. 🙂

      • Oh really? Same age as my mum! I feel so young and outta place on WordPress at times haha

        And you’re lucky! I threw many temper tantrums due to not passing levels….. Seems so fickle looking back! I agree wholeheartedly, the world won’t be interesting at all if people stop exploring their own little worlds.

      • Holy crap! Feeling out of place on wordpress because I’m a “Mom” age? I never should have given up my age 🙂

        The thing is – age is irrelevant,we get hung up on perceptions or stereotypes of how we should behave or think – all based on TV script pigeon holes. You should be patting yourself on the back for blogging – the fact that we are having this discussion in the first place speaks volumes for your character.

        I may be a 53 year old mother of 3 grown children but that doesn’t change who I have always been.

  4. The world I was brought up with – a world of imagination, which I had to create myself – is gone. I spent my childhood writing stories, building things with the 1960s editions of Meccano, a British Lego-clone known as ‘Betta Builda’ – and free-form with papier mache and paints.

    I don’t have kids, but I look at my brother’s kids, and I see them being fed pre-digested entertainment and relentless availability of pre-developed toys that foster imagination in ways very different from what I knew.

    Is this worse? I don’t know, but I do think the scope is less. Today’s scope for imagination for children of all ages is so much reduced, purely because so much is being fed to us.

    I don’t doubt that things will keep changing, but I do wonder about where the framework being presented for imagination today will lead us.

  5. I totally agree and feel the same way in some aspects. have you heard of Nature Deficit Disorder, check it out. technology does have a way of separating people from nature, especially the youth.

  6. Reblogged this on Suzy Is Opinionated and commented:
    I really can’t add to this. It makes me sad because it is the truth in today’s society. Those of us who were raised as the author of this post were so fortunate to have been a child in that environment. I remember vividly playing in forts and running around pretending I was a wild pony in the wild west—we lived in rural Montana at that time and wild horses still roamed the canyons and prairie. It’s a “wonder”filled memory.

  7. Great post.

    Indeed, as an only child growing up in the age before electronics and in an era when daytime television was not only not allowed in the house, but the one channel we got would have been exceedingly boring for a child, I can’t ever recall being bored. Even now, I’m rarely bored.

    Now, children have their heads buried in electronic devices constantly. Teenagers are by far the worst, but now many adults are this way too. Even I find myself looking at my Iphone when I could just look at the world. A terrible development, all the way around.

  8. I remember the occasions we would drive to my grandmother’s house in Hertfordshire and she would take my brother and I by the hand and we would walk across the heath to the Fairy Wood!
    My gran always seemed to see them but by the time we turned to look they vanished.

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