Dragon and Dreams
On the third day of the year 2016, as I was sitting at the corner of McDonald’s trying to be still and write, I realized that I was at the mercy of overly-excited young children screaming their lungs out as they played hide-and-seek in the playground within the compounds. The children had gleefully transported themselves on the wings of an imaginary dragon to their elusive world of fantasy, where the pretty princess was trapped in the dungeons of plastic slides and mini towers. They were now fighting with their make-believe swords little wars of good against evil. Finally, the good mighty king falls “dead” in battle, and his melancholic man-servants hurry to bury him in “unknown” grounds. The villain lord roars in triumph and dashes off back to the castle, ready to lock himself up with the royal lady. Just as he turns his back, a handsome prince creeps up his back and drives a spear into his chest, putting an end to the lord’s wildest dreams.
Children have a natural ability to make-belief: them and their ability to lock themselves away for hours in some distant land, waiting for some prince and his white horse to come around to their rescue. Allow them to strive in their cheerful plays. It is never a happier sight than to see little ones make friends with their peers and dramatize their roles. The schemata automatically formed in the brain as they mingle around is crucial for their linguistic and social development. Children tend to experience a more natural growth because their social skills are thus pruned; solving a “crisis” during pretend-play will actually help when they are faced with more complex, complicated situations as adults in real life. Children who had been actively involved with many friends at a young age faced fewer adjustment problems and were better able to handle group conflicts. They also had higher emotional stability and sense of cooperation compared to children isolated from their peers. Children who enjoyed a greater social circle exhibited much less hostility than did those who were kept to themselves.
So the next time your son is engrossed with the Battle of the Lord of the Rings with your daughter, do not stop them. Encourage them, and let them continue – maybe you might one to join in the fun as well.