Having kids is fun, stressful, and finally enlightening. My wondrous daughter who enthralls me with her life and her approach to it; was caught in a fantasy web she spun about a boy-friend and his friends. Being twelve years young, children I believe find a mix of the real and wishful in most endeavors. They see life as having all these plugins and connectors and run to places where they experience the wonders. Sometimes the place they end up is fantasy. But to me, the world is so full of horrible measures and the news always seem to suck; a little fantasy may not be such a bad thing. We perhaps block the very thing that prehistoric hunters and gatherers used to clamor for. They wanted a vision quest, a mix of the physical, esoteric, mental, real, and unreal. Because their life events were filled with all of those. The physical world was wrapped in theistic entities that inhabited the rocks, the sand, the trees, the mountains. They gathered the strengths and weaknesses of each into a fabric of life that made them more.
Why shouldn’t our children engage? Lives too soon become dull and humdrum and full of the stuff that beats us down; makes us tow the line. We lose sight of how to engage in fantasy and believe that reality is real. Well, got news for you all. Reality, as Edward Abbey would say, is not real. We want underlying reality but there is no such thing. In the end, as perhaps he remarked, the only real is the desert sun, the burning sand and the stinging scorpion.
I have an idea for all of you parents. Don’t be so quick to judge unless you are ready to be judged. Most of you all do lead those lives of quiet desperation as Thoreau noted. Why? Because you have pledged that life is not meant to be spent in harvesting a fantasy or two but should be measured in the dull acquisition of talents and abilities which takes you to some lofty goal. Who is to say who is the best and least successful? My very own wife cannot segment her own life but pronounces moral judgement on those that lie. To me, lying is part of the human condition. We tell the truth; we lie; we sleep; we dream. My mom used to say, “if you lie you must have perfect memory”.
What I say is that we recognize that our children are not finished entities. Their worlds may be based in reality in some sad measure; but they also may live in the world of fantasy where dragons and knights and high mountains forbid them entry. It may be the same world where unrequited love beckons. Its the stuff we love to read about. As parents our own lives are such dismal failures yet we foist the same measured controls on our children. Let them march to the drummers they hear however measured or far away.
Most of all don’t waste your time expounding some serious ideals when you cannot even live to a shade of their reality in your life. That’s being hypocritical and I know the person here so guilty of that.