Saturday, October 25, 2008

I Love Eavesdropping

Now, don't get me wrong--not eavesdropping on important or private conversations. I just like listening to people having conversations in public. It's always fun when you aren't getting the whole story. Teenagers are great, but little kids? Even better.

Maybe ten-year-old kid to much smaller kid. "Really? You're only five? Man, that sucks. I'm twelve."

I wish I could have conversations like that. "Man, you're only eighteen? Dude, that's awful. I'm twenty-five." (Insert cocky half-smile here, because really, age is an accomplishment!)

Then there were two adorable little five-year-old girls. Both dressed up in their halloween costumes, they shouted, "Let's go to our castle! It's PROBLEM SOLVING TIME!"

Now, at first glance, that's adorable. But if you think about it, it's a little disturbing. Where is the violence? Where is the conflict? Gone are the great "Kill the badguy!" cartoons of my youth. They've been replaced with intelligent and age-appropriate cartoons that focus not on conflict but on problem solving. So in a way, it's fantastic. But it also makes me a little sad. Because going to Problem Solving Castle? Just not nearly as much fun.

17 comments:

Kayleigh said...

I love doing the same thing. In fact, I was going to do a post today where I talked a little about some conversations I eavesdropped on today.

And who wants to problem solve as a princess! Maybe they'll be geniuses at math one day. They can solve the problems of the future...I'll sit back in my "kill the bad guy" castle and be happy just watching them problem solve.

Anthony said...

I was the best babysitter ever. As soon as the parents would leave, I would lean against the door and go, "Mwa ha ha ha ha!" The kids never gave me any problems after that.

Imagination > anything.

Kiersten said...

Sorry Anthony, somehow your comment was eaten by blogger. Or I was an idiot and clicked refuse while Dojo was distracting me. Either way, I tried to recreate it word-for-word from memory. I think I did a good job?

Anyway--that's awesome. And if you did that to my kids, either they would start bawling, stare blankly at you and then ignore you, or "Mwa ha ha ha ha!" right back at you. All depending on their mood.

Renee Collins said...

You've touched on one of my pet peeves. Why are all cartoon shows these days so obsessed with teaching? Where's the development of imagination? I mean, it's good, I guess. Amber speaks more Spanish than I did at fifteen.

I think it just bothers me because it plays right into the feelings that are rampant out there in the parenting world of getting your kid ahead. Parents are so obsessed with ensuring their kid's future at an Ivy League that they aren't just letting them be kids!

Kristina P. said...

Do you ever read Overheard in the Ward? Some of the things kids say are hilarious!

Anthony said...

I think my commentary was for your prior entry, where you wanted a babysitter so you could write more.

Here, it looks like I am going off to left field. Which I do, on occasion.

Natalie said...

Problem solving time? Interesting. That does kind of make me sad in a weird way. Seems like kids can't do a single things without an "educational" spin these days.

And I can't wait until I'm 80 and can smugly point out to my 74-yr-old sister that I'm still older. Ha. Take that.

Kiersten said...

Ha! Right you are, Anthony. The missing comment is, in fact, in the next post. That's the problem with comment moderation--it doesn't tell you which post the comment is for.

And not so left-field, given the imagination comment. But it still fits better in the next comment trail, to be sure ; )

And it's true, girls. I spent the majority of hours of my childhood in imagination-land. Sure, there were problems and perils--but I certainly didn't proudly brand myself a "Problem Solver." I was too busy being April O'Neal and taking care of the baby I had with Leonardo.

Hmmmm...Problem Solvers are way less creepy.

Anyway--sometimes I worry that my kids' lives have very little structure and they spend pretty much all day every day playing. And then I realize that from 5 until their twenties, they are going to be working and learning and studying. So I let them play.

Renee Collins said...

Amen, Kiersten.

freddie said...

In teaching music, I notice some parents have their kids on overload. They're taking piano, playing soccer, preparing for their SATs at the age of five (okay, I'm exagerrating . . . but not by much). They have activities every night of the week. It's like they're preparing for the Ivy Leagues as soon as they are born.

Aunty Em said...

Way too P.C. for my taste. Bring back the guns & dynomite & blow up the castle. Now that's fun!

Anthony said...

It takes imagination to go from "10" written on the chalkboard to interpreting that the straight line and the circle represent ten objects or even a number unto itself.

Imagination from a child comes from playing.

Playing -> Imagination -> Symbol Recognition -> Math

Children's play. It's mostly all good.

*MARY* said...

Sorry to comment on a comment but April and Leonardo having a baby?! This explains a lot about you, Kiersten.

Kiersten said...

It does, doesn't it?

Does anyone else remember those "Turtle Tots" toys? They were plush baby turtles, and their shells came off and you could use them for a diaper bag.

Thus, April and Leonardo's love child.

Rychelle said...

for some reason i always get a kick out of couples that fight in public. i don't really want to over-hear, but i can't stop listening, if i'm in ear shot.

Maggie said...

Eavesdropping has served me well, especially at work. I'm not sure why but people seem to forget I exist sometimes and I hear the most outrageous stuff. Or I hear when a position will be open...I'm always the first to know when someone is about to be fired. It's all about being a wallflower!

writtenwyrdd said...

Well, Kiersten, there's a third compromise alternative: Problem-solving Castle Greyskull, where you solve your problems the old fashioned way: by screaming By The Pow-wer of Grey-skuuuuuuul! and bamming the other guy on the head.