|Making magic with the imagination |
JEAN ANTOINE-DUNNE Monday, July 17 2017
I HAVE THIS really deep desire to get my grandson to take up fishing. This is because I have a theory that fishing teaches us silence, patience and endurance. Now that the long holidays are here, it seems an ideal time.
However, he is incredibly busy, as are all of his friends.
They have soccer camp and camps of every description.
I remember as a child simply being left to my own resources during the holidays.
My parents were busy people and we lived in the heart of Arima. Much of my time was spent reading, going to the library, or to the Windsor cinema, which was next door ó I donít think I ever paid. I also dressed up, wrote little plays, got my friends to act in them and, more or less, passed the time in a world of the imagination.
I dreamt and my dreams were like crystals. Dreaming is so powerful and so wonderful.
Reading is the best kind of dreaming and I often wonder whether the imaginations of children today feed as much on television and computer games as mine did on books.
But, of course, I could spend my time daydreaming because during the holidays I had so little to do that was rigidly structured.
Now there is obviously a need to supervise children.
Especially in our world that has gone so dangerously wrong. But I wonder, is there some space left to allow children the time to be bored, so that they develop self-reliance and self-motivation?I knew exactly what I wanted to do from the age of five. I was going to be a writer and my world would consist of books and the make-believe existence that literature provides.
If there is no time for the play of the imagination, then there is no space to imagine and create.
Now that parents feel obliged to monitor their childrenís free time with such diligence, the ingenuity that imaginative play develops seems gone awry.
My friend Laura, who is a researcher and teacher, says that while structure is important, there needs to be a balance so that children can develop their own creative potential.
It is possible to have structured playtimes that enable the free reign of the imagination.
For example, we could have charades or dressing up.
Or we could use the device that good old Huck Finn discovered, which is to make work desirable and fun: for example, even gardening, including weeding, if done as a group activity could actually be enjoyable; or washing the car, or even painting a fence.
Then there are so many wonderful sights in Trinidad and Tobago; two of my most memorable trips were hikes through the forest to waterfalls ó one in Toco near Grande Riviere, the other in Tobago.
Or maybe we could give our children a sense of Godís magnitude by just accompanying them on a trip to look at the baby turtles, since the laying season is now over. There is always the perpetual magic of Asa Wright and the sight of the humming birds will cast a permanent hue over their memories. Childhood is, after all, about storing memories for the future. Or perhaps, as parents or grandparents, we could plan a visit to the river or a river lime. Water makes reflections and shapes on its surface and stimulates artistic desire. It also helps in encouraging thought.
Many of these activities are actually done in silence, for the most part. But maybe that is another lesson that we need to learn. The thing is that children need to be allowed to disc o v e r that the w o r l d is magical and that it is the imagi - nat ion t h a t s p i n s t h e magic.