Wednesday, August 26, 2009

HEY! That's NOT Fair!

Here's a fact that most adults lose track of: Being a kid is FRUSTRATING! 

As we grow older we sometimes lose sight of that. We project a sense freedom and lack of responsibility because those seem to us the obvious characteristics of childhood. But if we stop for a second and consider, we'd realize those things just aren't true.

Freedom? Kids got none really.

They are subjected to all kinds of crazy rules that grown-ups put in place (with good intentions granted, but that doesn't make them any less crazy from a kid's point of view). 

- Then he goes over the rest of the rules. No tapping on the glass, no dipping my hand into the water, and no trying to scare the fish. There are so many rules that I don't feel like doing my happy dance anymore. - CatKid: The Fishy Field Trip 
(CatKid's Dad goes over the rules for Aquarium trip the next day)

These seemingly arbitrary rules can lead to a life of frustration. I take up this theme a lot in the chapter books I write. The stories often about the normal frustrations of being a kid and how the characters deal with them. How do they deal with them? Sometimes well. Sometimes not so well. But what I try to do is always find humor in the event. Kids recognize the mistakes the characters make because they've more than likely made the same ones. The idea behind it is that sometimes, all you can do is laugh at these frustrating events.

I think there's a value for kids to see this perspective in books as a way of validating their feelings. Because I do believe that they are validated. Let's face it, some of the rules are crazy. Maybe not the tapping on the glass rule, but others certainly. 

It's not always easy being a kid. In fact, it's almost never easy. Just keep that in mind next time you find yourself thinking kids live the easy life. CatKid is sure to disagree.

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