When Blue Ivy Carter, 8-year-old daughter of music stars Jay-Z and Beyoncé won the recent BET Award for singing on Brown Skin Girl, she reminded the rest of the world that children are fascinated with sensation. The award was a figurative reminder to the rest of us to let children continue their fascination with sensation. It was a figurative reminder to parents to minimize attempts to rob children of their fascination with things they, parents think are no longer important – the songs of the birds, the changing colours of the skyline, the caterpillar that just became a butterfly. And many such things of wonder in the environment.
Children respond to the many sensations taking place around them simultaneously. Almost every sound, movement, colour call out to them. And they respond in wonder, wanting to be part of the experience. They wish they could play in the rain but we say no. We remind them of the sad cases of children swept away by flooded waters in Lagos. They forget quickly but when the rains begin to fall again, they are captivated by its wonder and want to really feel it. They don’t want to be distant observers. And truth be told – we danced, played and rocked in the rains in our days. Do I have a witness? How many people remember Rain Ball? That was the name we coined for football matches that took place when it rained. Just the fun of sliding in the grass was a huge thrill. It was the same even for those persons without school grass who did their business on their streets instead of school football fields. And when we picked up injuries in during play, the pain was absolved by the measure of delight flowing from the complete package of wonder and fun we had dipped ourselves in. Except of course, it was very serious. But even then, we hardly ever thought any such thing was life-threatening!
How many children in Lagos know anything like this from personal experience? PSP is great and I would not compare the two but those who have played the two should step forward and tell us where the real McCoy is found!
Children want to immerse themselves in what they hear, see, feel or touch. They want to observe a beetle more closely. Watch a sprouting plant out of the earth. Or whatever else is happening around them. My son carries about an old Nokia kpalasa phone because of the sounds from the radio. He is fascinated by what he hears and will not stop asking questions. He is not different from other children wanting to dip themselves in breaking wonders around them.
Might we allow them some room to glimpse more of God’s unending gifts breaking forth everywhere around them; let them experience same. So, that they expand the storehouse of the best gifts they may share with their own children some day?