Thought – Precise Play
Category : Thought
I have always been nervous around large groups of people. I know that no one likes crowds (packed theatres, a busy zoo, frantic grocery stores), and that we all have different ways to deal with this anxiety. Me, I refuse to go, and if I truly must put myself in those situations then I try my best, but if I start to feel overwhelmed I just shut down. I go inside myself and tune out the chaos and noise around me. That’s how I’ve always dealt with my own neurosis and I get along quite nicely.
When I became a parent it quickly became …apparent …that I would have to put myself in situations that might make me uncomfortable. Crowded libraries, age-diverse playgrounds, museums; I want my kids to visit and enjoy these place even though they make me feel acutely crazy. Thankfully, my wife loves to take the kids to festivals and the like, so I’m not put in these situations all the time, and when I am I can deal with it.
But a new problem has arisen, and it’s very troubling; the places that we want to investigate and enjoy are not only crowded, but actually seem to promote the things that make me nervous and inhibit the play of my children. These places are noisy, busy, physical, messy, unsupervised, and surprisingly noneducational. When I take my daughter to a science museum I expect to learn, play, explore, talk; basically have a nice quite time and leave having experienced science. I don’t expect to need to protect her from obtuse 8-year-olds, yell to be heard, pick up after others, and leave feeling like I’ve just been bashed over the head with sounds & colors.
At what point did education become over stimulation? Why is there no place to play in a precise manner other than my own living room? My daughter wants to learn and I want to teach her. But other people get in the way of that goal and ruin enjoyable experiences. Perhaps it’s not the museum/playground/library’s fault, but more of a cultural problem. Is that the only way to entertain today’s children, to let them run, scream, throw, and destroy? I’d like to think not. I’d like to think that other parents feel as I do; that it would be nice to find a quite place to sit down, learn, and leave feeling relaxed. Does that place exist?