Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Regarding a HuffPost Article about Magical Chidlhoods

Image from killingmycareer.com

I read a HuffPost article that reminded me to chill out. It was titled "I'm Done Making My Kid's Childhood Magical" and the author, Bunmi Laditan who writes "The Honest Toddler," tells us that childhood is magical because it is a constant time of coming of age. 
"Parents do not make childhood magical. Abuse and gross neglect can mar it, of course, but for the average child, the magic is something inherent to the age. Seeing the world through innocent eyes is magical."
I mean, why does everything fall when it is dropped...except a helium-filled balloon? Watching and listening to water pouring is endlessly engaging and relaxing. Rotational translational motion of a wheel is wonderfully powerful. Pushing the limits of one's center of gravity, or the center of gravity of a stack of blocks can keep a young child's attention for a loooonnng time. As can the sorting of nested cups. From a Preschool Engineer's perspective, the physical and mechanical properties of things in the world are pretty much magical and that is what I strive to nurture...that curiosity of natural phenomena.

But by "nurture" I don't mean designing engineering experiments every day for my children to do. In fact, I agree with Bunmi Laditan who goes on to say that, "It is not our responsibility to manufacture contrived memories on a daily basis." My way of nurturing is twofold: first, I tell myself that my children are learning when they are playing in the mud (I call it preschool environmental engineering), building block stacks (preschool mechanical engineering), finger painting and playing with play dough (preschool materials engineering), throwing balls at each other (preschool aerospace engineering), and helping me bake (preschool chemical engineering); second, I try to find teachable moments to talk to them or answer their questions about what they are doing. This is my way of chilling out...seeing value in childhood play and choosing my moments to engage with my kids.

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