It is Time!

Time is Now

 

It is time to be a listener.

It is time to look

And see.

It is time to know the difference

Between opinion

Fact or

Dream.

Yet it’s also time to tell some stories.

Time to let the mind roam free.

Time to open hearts

To conversation

To let imagination

Be.

And it is past all time

To hold compassion.

It is time for patience, too.

Time for kindness

For remembering

The essentiality

Of holding

You

As well as

Me.

 

 

For The Daily Post

 

 

“My Eyes Forgot!”

clean-up-messy-room-Switchmonkey

 

The room looked as if a tornado had gone through it: Toys of every size and color dotted the floor, a scatter of crayons peaked from under the bookcase, bits of paper snow-flaked the rug, a shirt’s sleeve and a lonely sock used an open drawer for recliner.

“Rachel!” the mother’s arms climbed to her waist in indignation. She’d cleaned this room that very morning.

The little girl lifted her face from the doll in her hands. Her visage was the epitome of innocence.

“Look at this room!” her mom exasperated.

The girl rotated her head obediently but without conviction.

“The mess!” the mom repeated when the child said nothing.

“Oh,” the child shrugged. One ponytail holder bobbed deeper than the other–it was hanging by a hair. “My eyes forgot to see it.”

 

 

For The Daily Post

Pictures on Pavement

Shirley Baker children draw on pavement France 1960

Shirley Baker children draw on pavement France 1960

 

Find time for drawing

Pictures

On the pavement of your mind.

Remember

The dry feel of chalk on fingers

The odd satisfaction in

Colors

Merging in the rain.

Put aside the rush of feet

The soles of to-do lists

The pressures of perfection.

Pavement pictures do not require

Standards

Other than imagination and

A bit of emptiness,

A soft rock,

A hand.

Make room for pavement pictures

On the pace-space

Of your mind.

Let the squiggles free

So the sketch

You never knew was there

Could stretch

A doodle

To the sun.

Survival Imagination

“For children who depend on mentally escaping into their minds to survive, imagination can become both refuge and desert island.”

(Na’ama Yehuda, Communicating Trauma, p. 148)

galatasaray.org

Imagination

door to sea

Open a door to imagination.

Re-visit forgotten times of untethered awe still left of childhood. Do not worry–your spirit does and always knew exactly how. Just go.

Open a door to imagination.

Let what isn’t, could not, would not be–become. In your mind’s eye, make reality.

Open a door to imagination. Fret not. You can’t get lost. You are already home.

Think of wonder. Fathom fairies. Fly aboard an eagle. Cradle soft onto the foaming sea. There are no rules to conjuring. No timeline. No bonds of gravity, age, physics. Relativity folds time onto itself. Explore.

Open wide the door.

For a moment or an hour. For a blink or afternoon, reshape yourself along the creases you never saw were possible new vistas. Find magic in the corners of your heart. It is there. It never left.

Open a door to imagination.

Breathe in light. Discover open spaces beyond air, beyond even what you believed could be imagined. Understand. Expand.

There are worlds out there. Awaiting your inspiration.

And more doors await. Beyond. Right here. Keen to open. You.

To imagination.

What box?!

Think outside the box!

Life’s too short to be too serious.

Be playful. Find a point of laughter. Create smiles.

Even the most functional place can tolerate some spunk, a bit of daring, a little imaginary pun.

Forget the ‘way it has to be done’–there are all manners of possibilities to explore, to reach the goal, to make it work–the journey’s just began!

Have fun!

outside box1

Ship-shape?

 

 

outside box3

Be a lady in a shoe!

 

outside box5

Potted house! (Korea)

 

outside box2

Chim-che-roo!

 

outside box4

Toasty fun!

 

 

 

When I Grow Up

wings

“When I grow up, I will be a bird.”

The little girl is adamant. She has made up her mind. It is final. This is what she’ll be. She’s even wearing training-wings.

It lasts about a day.

“I’ll be a batgirl fire-fightress (sic),” she announces.

“Not a bird?”

A look that shows just how impossibly slow adults can get is followed by: “No, I won’t be a bird anymore. I will be a fire-fightress.”

She is deeply disappointed with me that I did not notice the colors of her clothing all in red and yellow or the swirly bracelet around her wrist that’s meant to be the hose. She’s completely done with birds and fully involved in counting fire-hydrants, yellow helmets at the dinner-table, and nighttime fire-drills.

The next time she comes she is in a tutu. I feel confident for all of five seconds that I know what she is now going to be when she grows. I should have known better. She sets me straight.

“Not a ballet dancer!” she intones dismissively, noting my apparent limitations in assessing the meaning of her chosen dress. “I’m going to be a fairy. Can’t you see this is a fairy skirt?”

She’s a skier the following week. A princess the one after. A “limpic” skateboarder (a la TV competitions she watched over the weekend). A zoo-keeper. A dentist (her mother crosses fingers for that one!).

For one moment she even considers being a speech-pathologist. Then she decides that she can do better and just use stickers and markers as the president, too. “I need them for signs so they will see me,” she lisps decidedly. “And for presents. Presidents need lots of presents because it is in their name.”

She considers a plumbing career (after their bathtub floods). Becomes a pianist when she spots a broken piano on the sidewalk and bangs a (thankfully) brief concert. She’s going to be an astronaut. A doctor, too (“to fix the aliens if they get sick and to give me medicine from tummy ache”).

There is a passing mention of a police officer or maybe a model, undecided who.

She’s a whirlwind of professions. One day she’s “for sure” one thing, and the next day for sure “not THAT!” but surely just the same another.

Her parents hold on tight and let her fly. Oh, yeah, there is a pilot era, too, complete with airplanes spinning in the park and an insistence on perching on the monkey-bars’ “top top one where pilots are.”

The jury’s out on what she’ll be when she grows up. What we know in almost certainty is that it could well be what she declared today, or yesterday, or in three different periods during the past week, or will introduce in full high drama sometime tomorrow or next month.

For now, she’s a rolodex of pure anticipation. Dress-up, here she comes!

dressup

Outside The Box

“Color inside the lines.”

“Re-write these letters.”

“Sit on your circle.”

“This is not playtime.”

“Keep to the right.”

“Climb the ladder, not the slide.”

There is a good reason why we direct children. We want them to learn to follow rules and obey instructions. We want them to listen. We need them to pay heed. After all, laws and guidelines are part of an orderly society and are important for maturation, regulation, and delaying gratification. Rules help maintain safety. They help define the difference between free play and guided study, between teamwork and individual projects, between creative writing and a summary of a given book or essay.

Rules and guidelines are good. It is healthy for them to be challenged and okay to keep rules even if a child thinks they are stupid or unnecessary (as long as we truly know why). Boundaries clarify what is and isn’t acceptable, where and when and how. There’s nothing wrong with structure. Or with following directions. Or with consequences when one chooses to do otherwise.

Structure is a good thing. So is knowing what’s expected. At least as long as those do not become a means to an end. As long a they are not ways to exact conformity and control, paths to making our adult life easier, roadblocks to creative thought, plugs for personality.

When we extend guidelines into demanding unified and unjustified conformity, we risk snuffing out individuality. It is then that we may end up raising robots, not children. It is then that we gag magic and bind wonder, imagination, awe.

When we say things such as:

“Elephants aren’t purple, color it gray.”

“You can’t draw two suns in the sky. There is only one.”

“Stripes do not go with polka dots. You’ll look funny. Go change.”

“This doesn’t look like Mommy–she has long hair, not short.”

“Don’t mix the Lego with the blocks.”

“You can’t just make up rules–this game has an instruction sheet.”

“People don’t eat olives with cookies.”

“Stop making things up.”

There is nothing wrong with purple (or rainbow) elephants, with three suns, pattern mix-and-match, people who look like aliens and aliens who look like mice, Legos with blocks and carton boxes and a Barbi perched on for a knight, with new rules for old games, and with plenty of made-up imagining.

Order has a place, as does chaos and unpredictability. We ask our children to tolerate our rules and limitations … it is only reasonable that we train ourselves to tolerate (even encourage!) theirs, wild as they may seem to be.

Let your child out of the box. You’d be amazed what children can achieve. How much they can create, plan, build, conjure, put together. How far their brilliant, fresh thinking, free mind can go!

Think Outside the Box!

Think Outside the Box!

Superhero Story

superhero

The little boy loves chocolate. He adores candy, cookies, florescent sour sticks. His idea of a balanced meal is french fries and ketchup with some chicken fingers on the side. He cringes at anything that grows on trees and runs away from any shorter plant life, especially those grown on farms with salads in mind.

He thinks brownies are a food group and can name all the junk food in the aisle of a mega-mart. He’s a keen critic of the varieties of cheese doodles, pasta shapes (no sauce), donuts, and icing from a can.

He perfected pouts and frowns to span the whole range of disgust, denial, and gradients of ‘no-way-Jose’ with which to respond to any and all attempts at offering healthy nutrition. You can dress vegetables however you like, try to hide fruit in a smoothie or an ice pop, claim that dried fruit are “as sweet as candy”–he sees right through the sneakiest disguise. The only way a vitamin will pass his lips is in a gummy.

His world revolves around sweets, snacks, and superheros.

Of the latter, he owns every size, shape, and denomination; in clothes, sheets, watches, slap-on-bracelets, stickers, backpack, cup, cap, hat, and mittens. He is genially inclusive of all superheros, identifiable by characteristic puffy chests, disproportionate arms, odd skin color (tending toward green), and various kinds of billowing plastic capes and armament. There are of course the Spiderman, Batman, and Superman, Green Lantern man, and Darth Vader, but also many others that adults keep confusing and, more’s the pity, cannot even name … 

The boy lives, breathes, sleeps, plays, narrates, and animates his superheros. He is rarely found without one–they are constant companions–at home, in the car, in the tub. He takes one with him to the toilet, for some friendly company and conversation.

He keeps a place at the table for his superheros. He lugs a carry-on packed with them onto the plane. He delights in having them, ecstatically anticipates upcoming birthdays and holidays as opportunities for enlarging his beloved collection.

Some may think his ‘fixation’ willful or limiting. They may frown upon his adulation of plastic figurines with overstuffed musculature and unrealistic proportions and stereotype. Others see him walk along the street in full superhero regalia, grinning, prancing, proud as rain … and they cannot hold back a smile. He is absorbed, enchanted and enchanting. At almost-four, he bobs easily in and out of the bubble of delight in mystery and magic-thinking.

His parents tolerate sheets and towels becoming capes, draping furniture, and sweeping fragile items off of shelves and coffee tables. They have learned to live with constant sound effects as Spiderman climbs walls and Superman flies atop buildings and other superhero this-or-that saves all manner of fallen toy-victims. His parents accept that going anyplace takes longer when there’s a world to rescue with each move, a hero to swoop wide from every stair, a never ending battle between good and bad to wage and master.

Speaking of battles … there is the matter of his aversion to tooth brushing. Sugary and colored yellow with sticky cheese powder, he refuses to allow any mention of teeth cleaning. He clenches jaws against attempts at probing. He flees, superheros in each hand, at the sight of toothpaste or mouthwash.

Oh, he has some valid reason to–medical professionals have spliced his little mouth all too many times in efforts to reshape what a birth defect distorted. They came from care, but his experience left him wary and refusing further vulnerability. He controls access to his mouth with iron will that puts maximum security detention centers to shame.

His parents despair — they loathe to force him when so much was forced already and yet they know that to neglect his mouth is to invite issues in the future and invasive dental work besides. They admit helpless caving in to his refusal. Embarrassed, they are torn between their worry for his pain and the need to work beyond it.

So we had a hubbub, he and I, and we’ve come to an agreement. An understanding. A plan of action. Superheros brush teeth, too, you see. They floss regularly with gusto. They gargle mightily. They epitomize mouth-care and a fighting spirit against germs a-hiding. The proof is seen in any superhero movie, cartoon, or poster; where one is certain to be dazzled by the light reflecting from their pearly white perfection ….

Now, superheros line the sink, the toothbrush is adorned with muscled plastic. Towel cape on shoulders, feet in puffy superhero slippers, he seeks to destroy all hidey-holey bugs that wish to burrow cavities.

Superheros brush teeth, too. Whew. Next, they will be eating vegetables…

superheros