It is normal for children to play and use their imagination, why are adults surprised by this?
Recently, the English speaking media are full of stories about a nine-year-old boy who taped together boxes to create an imaginary amusement arcade that made him enough money to pay his college fees.
When this kid created the amusement arcade, an adult came along and through the magic of social networking invited everyone else to visit too. The kid must have been surprised to find his game attract thousands of paying adults which was filmed by one of the adults. The video was posted to YouTube, which went viral, causing a media stampede.
The kid is evidently being predicted as the next billionaire, and has been invited to give a business talk to business people. The story is doing its rounds through blogs like WordPress, and the social media as an example as one blogger put it of “Passion-Based Learning”.
STOP! Reality check ahead…
Children play and use their imagination
What this kid did is normal, ordinary and widespread. This is what children do, they use their imagination and play. This kid may go on to be a huge achiever, but what he did is no different from any other kid. This kid got a lucky break when he met the right adult at the right time. Nobody can laugh at his fame and new prosperity from what was, and still is, imaginary play that most children do day in and day out.
The adult reaction is disturbing
I find it disturbing that adults and the English media have gone crazy over a child, who like any other, was using his imagination in creative play. It is nuts to put a child on a pedestal, as a guru to business people, for being a child, doing what children always do. There is nothing wrong with the child, but a wrongness in the reaction of the adults to that child.
It seems to me that there is a vast gulf of separation between the adult and children, that they have forgotten what it is like to be a child, who play and use their imagination. Perhaps the adult has been too obsessed in educating play and creativity out of children with some degree of success, that this little fish got through the net and surprised them.
The adult can learn something from this story: that children naturally play and use creativity; that the adult should encourage this rather than destroy it.