Other People's Imaginations

Why do kids settle down when you put them in front of a TV? Have you ever really wondered about this?

They stop moving, they point their heads all in one direction, they stop talking, they go from output to input mode. Many call this "the time when I can actually get dinner made."

But what are they inputting during this time? Other people's imaginations.

This is one of the wonderful things about movies, they let you mentally walk around in the imagination of another person, a director or an actor or editor or designer. They let us share really deep thoughts.

But is that what kids are getting from TV? Probably not. They are having some down time.

Nothing wrong with down time, of course. We all need to shut down every so often. And kids' brains are working really hard and need to reset.

But meanwhile, they are being exposed to someone's "product," characters or personalities or things that lend themselves to action figures or whatnot.

Can they reset their brains without somebody else's imagination blathering at them? Can kids relax without having to kick their brains into this passive gear? Can they be peaceful without drowning out their own thoughts?

Sure they can, if they've got the right things around. Especially paper and pencils and comfy places to sit that have good light.

I love movies, I love animation, I really enjoy a lot of kid-oriented stories. But I also suspect that, the more we consume someone else's imagination, the more important it also becomes to create some space for our own.