I saw a news clipping on Facebook today with someone criticizing kids for being crybabies, for living in a dream world, and for feeling as if the world owed them something. I understand the impetus for the piece. I have reared two generations of teens. I know that it can be thankless and tiresome and just plain exhausting. However, I WANT kids to be dreamers and I want to encourage them to live in that world where all things are possible. How about a world where someone who worked on an assembly line and would write during his break went on to win fame as an author (Christopher Paul Curtis)? How about a world where a kid who grew up in dire circumstances and end up as a professor who gets to talk about books all day (hmmm who do I know who fits this description?)?
One of my favorite scenes in UNCLE BUCK is John Candy becoming angry at an elementary principal who criticizes his niece for being a daydreamer and a twaddler. I feel the same way. As for crying: I would prefer to see genuine emotion from a kid and deal with that. I am tired of the passive aggressive adults I run into. I hate the pejorative term crybaby. I hate seeing adults expect kids to behave in an adult manner. Let them be kids. I watched a 4 year old (I am guessing) run around the pizza joint last night. She was not disturbing other folks, and she was letting off energy. I imagine she fell asleep on the drive home.
As for the feeling that the world owes kids something, it does: it owes them safety, it owes them education, it owes them love and support and acceptance. And what, pray tell, does this have to do with books (where we began this journey today)? Take a look at the books that received some accolades and note that these are books that will help kids keep dreams alive (see Langston Hughes for why this is important), which will help them develop empathy (which might make them a trifle teary-eyed) and which will show them how to become a member of the world who gives back when possible.
I have some books to add to the TBR pile, and I do so gladly.