Making kids light up with joy
I was reading an article in a local paper here in West Chester, Ohio. The story told about a high school senior who spent her summer dancing in shows at nearby King's Island. Last year she danced next to SpongeBob in a parade; this year she reprieved that role and also danced in a School of Rock show. At one point in the article, she mentioned how good it made her feel when she saw how excited the little kids got.
Not to take away from her generous, caring spirit, but it made me sad to think that little kids are getting excited about Sponge Bob. Or Elmo. Or Mickey Mouse. Or Dora. Or any other TV character.
When I was a kid, I got excited over swallowtail butterflies, foxes, deer, especially deer with fawns, the view from the top of a mountain, the sounds and sights of a rushing creek. I was thrilled when I held a tiny tree frog in my palm, caught fireflies in the bluing dusk, or leaped into a rustling pile of crisp fall leaves. I loved to go apple picking and make fresh applesauce. I love kneading bread and watching it rise in a slow oven. I like sitting in our living room, listening to classical music while my mother, father and I read, or played Scrabble.
Almost all my best, fondest memories, my most excited moments center around nature, family and friends.
None of them feature commercial products/personalities like Sponge Bob or Mickey Mouse.
I'm pretty sure my kids memories are going to be similar to mine. I only hope the same can be said for the majority of their peers. I worry instead, that their lives have been commericialized from infancy, to the point that they won't be able to discriminate between things of value, and things that are designed simply to make money for someone else.