The Genius Of Childhood

Children have a unique way of entertaining themselves as readers well know who have observed them at play.  While many parents feel obligated to provide their little ones with the latest ‘must-have’ plaything, it’s actually counterproductive.  To satisfy the creative longings of most children, follow a simple formula:  give the child several vibrant, colorful boxes of different sizes/shapes, some interestingly shaped/colorful string and perhaps some used ribbon, get out of the way and watch the wonderful creative mind perform feats that only a child’s mind could envision.  I thought of this recently while watching a toddler put on a magical show without an apparent audience.
I was waiting uptown in the car on a rainy morning for my friend to return from a shopping errand.  It was a rather raw day, cold and overcast but all that changed when just down the block in front of a second hand store this little one, perhaps 2,  was putting on an award winning performance.  She had no audience except her observing mother; there were no props other than what she herself provided. The rain was coming down fairly steadily but she had a shelter she could use when needed: the store entrance.   Actually her audience consisted of all of 2 people, her mother and me, both oblivious to her. Unfortunately there were no pedestrians to witness this rain-could-not-stop wonderfully unrehearsed show.
Her ‘dance’ was as if it were professionally choreographed. She would rush from the  rain free area to the sidewalk,  fling out her  arms, lift her head, open her mouth, close her eyes and  turn around  furiously flinging her long blond hair  but always in total control. Oh, there was one prop she used, a string of some sort which she would wrap around her arms and hands creating a sense of motion as the string encircled and UNencircled her body.  The dance was brief perhaps because of the rain which caused her to rush back to the store front for cover.  This occurred several times until her mother thought it was time for the show to end.
While the little girl, dressed in colorful attire covered with animal patterns, was unaware that she had an admiring audience, she did have one, this unseen observer who was entertained by this awe inspiring act which won my applause but which she did not hear.
But this little jewel, who now has no inhibitions about her actions, will grow up, but will she still  have that child-like innocence (few do) or become constrained by the pressures of adult society?
For now, leave it to a child to steal the show.
Bill Lee
PO Box 128
Hamer, SC 29547

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