Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Children Are So Precious! (a short quiz!)

This week has already come up with its quota of snooky-wookums slush, and that's it. No more! Thus, today's quiz:

Childhood is a magical time, full of: (check all that apply)

a. innocence
b. ignorance
c. daisies
d. insecurity
e. tea parties
f. fairies
g. imagination
h. unicorns
i. teddy bears
j. thoughtless cruelty

Whatever else you chose, if you didn't select ignorance, insecurity, and thoughtless cruelty, you've mistaken what childhood is like to look at for what childhood is like to live. Being a child is hard. If you don't remember what it was like to be a child, please do not write for them.

13 comments:

T.S. said...

I disagree (but only a little bit). Sure my childhood (and almost everyone else's) was filled with your top three. But imagination was also a part of it too. I think that's the main reason I ended up in book publishing. And I can think of a few really amazing books that use the concept of imagination as part of their plot (I'm blanking on a few of the titles I had running through my head just now but The Neverending Story is one of them).

Anyway, that's my petition for a fourth option. Other than that, IAWTP!

Deirdre Mundy said...

Not all the cruelty was thoughtless... if I recall, some bullies are very devious and thoughtful when coming up with ways to injure others....

(And can we PLEASE get rid of the PBS-inspired "Bullies just need a friend" cliche? Sociological research says that actually, bullies are usually quite popular and well liked.... it's the bullied who need friends... )

(sorry about all the comments today-- I'm procrastinating....)

WEH said...

Thanks, T.S.

Imagination gets my vote.

Children aren't built by scrapes and bruises they endure, but by how high they fly, while they are still able.

That what childhood is.

Editorial Anonymous said...

Let me clarify--my childhood had all of these things, and I agree, the imagination part was a big, BIG part. The slush I'm talking about, though, seems to have forgotten that there are challenges to being a child, too.

WEH said...

But the dark areas are to create contrast... so the brightness is vividly appreciated.

Do kids want to be buried in an emotional 3rd world gloom, or do kids want to experience other kids rising above it?

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! It's a relief to find people who agree with me that childhood is not all cotton candy and flowers and snuggly-wuggly animal friends.

ae said...

Snuggly Wuggly Snooky Wookums. Sounds like a Jellicle Cat.

Editorial Anonymous said...

To weh (both posts),
The darkness in Where The Wild Things Are (arguably the best picture book ever) is not to create contrast, nor is the book about flying high. The genius of that book is in showing a child in whom independent and dependent, destructive and constructive impulses are all part and parcel of the same person, and each of those qualities is meaningful and important in its own way. None are necessarily negative. This is a book that speaks to what children are, rather than just what adults would like them to be.

ae said...

Yes, and yes it is. And it looks so simple.

Uma Krishnaswami said...

I just blogged about this subject not ten minutes ago, on how childhood is really much like a third world country, and now here's your post. Funny how these memes circulate. Children are the Wild Things, and they're Max, and they're not simple and innocent, or least not simply that. They're us, in such a real sense that it's staggering.

Anonymous said...

I swore I would not get sucked into commenting on a two year old post, but as a victim of bullying, I'm disturbed about your depiction of senseless cruelty as a universal part of childhood.

I surely hope you didn't mean to imply that all children are senselessly cruel. Some of us really tried to be nice people. Perhaps that's how we got targeted as victims.

And, as another commenter mentioned, I have to take issue with "senseless". These guys knew exactly what they were doing and enjoyed themselves immensely.

They finally stopped enjoying it, at least in my case, when I "lost it" and bloodied the nose of a guy a couple of years older and a lot bigger than me.

Yes, there are a lot of little psychopaths out there - and I suspect most of them are victims of abuse in the home. But it's really not everybody.

Editorial Anonymous said...

I did not mean to imply that all children are bullies.

But I do mean that all children accidentally and thoughtlessly hurt each other at least a few times, even when they are trying to be nice people.

This is a fact of life because even the most well-meaning child is sometimes a bit selfish, or simply not as aware of other people's feelings as they will be by the time they attain adulthood. This cannot be avoided, and is perfectly forgivable in children, but it's still important for every adult who writes for children to remember.

I see lots of submissions from people who are painting childhood with a brush so full of rainbows and daisies and cutsie-wootsie that they truly seem to have forgotten the many difficult things about being a child. Certainly there is innocence and play and wonder in being a child. But that's not all.

The best books for children don't forget that.

Anonymous said...

i agree
imagination?
sure we have imagination but most kids dont use it much(unless they forgot to do homework and have to try and not get a detention) but childhood isnt all fun and games especially now with all the trouble in the adult world which is reaching us and when you are a pre teen or a teenager stress can really get you down.
if you dont understand us dont write for us-take that from an 11 year old kid