Tag: kids

Calvin and Hobbes

I’ve talked about a lot of great literature on this blog but it occurred to me I have neglected one of my favorites- Calvin and Hobbes.  I can picture you my reader smiling at my mention of the name Calvin and Hobbes.

It is perhaps easy to discount comic strips as real art or literature but that is unfair to the thought and brilliance of the medium.  I love Peanuts and Dilbert but also Calvin and Hobbes.

Calvin and Hobbes is a strip written by Bill Watterson from 1985-1995.  They focused on the protagonist Calvin who is a rebellious but thoughtful kid who wants to explore and have adventures and hates school.

philosophy calvinCalvin is at one point like Lisa Simpson in his thoughtfulness and grown up sensibilities but also like Bart Simpson in his mischievousness and rebelliousness from the rules.

calvinHe is accompanied by his best friend Hobbes who is sometimes a stuffed tiger and sometimes anthropomorphized.  Hobbes is both the sidekick and the teacher for Calvin.

philsophy calvin 2 philsophy calvin3A few years ago I went to a reading symposium and a woman spoke that was a high school teacher.  She mentioned 10 or 11 books in her lecture and the main qualification seemed to be they were ‘short’ and despite being somewhat dimwitted ‘at least the kids are reading’.  That really made me mad then and it still does today (I will add that I am in the minority opinion on that lecture but I don’t care!).  https://smilingldsgirl.com/2012/01/18/writing-and-reading-for-children-and-teens/

Calvin and Hobbes shows you can be entertaining to all age groups while being challenging and thought provoking.  At least the kids are reading is a such a cop-out.

calvin santa Calvin has a great imagination and the adventures he goes on are always full of laughs.

monsters

It’s good for kids to see that parents don’t always know what is the best way.

momI love any art form that takes kids seriously.  That doesn’t assume just because it is children it has to be stupid.  Calvin and Hobbes shows great respect for a child’s intellect and does not shy away from long words or tough topics of religion, philosophy or the meaning of life.

I hate it when adults have a ‘good enough’ attitude about kids.  This book is ‘good enough’.  This movie is ‘good enough’.  No way.  We as adults have an obligation to encourage the best in our kids and to let them rise to a higher standard than their natural man might appeal too.

Calvin and Hobbes is proof that with a little effort we can find enlightening and enriching material that appeals to a childs demographic.  I refuse to accept a ‘at least he’s reading’ attitude.  We can do better than that.  Calvin and Hobbes does better than that.

calvin-hobbes-read-dinosaurI sincerely wish all teachers when they have an unruly little boy would give said boy Calvin and Hobbes.  Maybe it would help them know they are ok and that there is a purpose to their type of sensibilities.  Maybe they would learn to channel that energy into art or nature or even philosophy.

I wish I could give this to every kid who is disciplined for coloring outside the lines
I wish I could give this to every kid who is disciplined for coloring outside the lines

This is one of my favorites.  It’s funny and it really will make anyone, kid or not, think.

bullyThat is brilliant writing I tell you!

Calvin and Hobbes is also full of a sense of play and adventure.  Even knowing the characters takes effort.  There are no movies, saturday afternoon cartoons, plush toys or video games.

calvin and hobbes tv

It’s like Watterson knew what was coming for kids entertainment and instead of embracing it he held off so that hopefully kids would have one thing in their lives they loved that wasn’t spoon fed for them.  When you think of the amount of money he could have made merchandizing it is pretty remarkable; and yet the comics continue to be read by kids and adults alike despite little to no promotion. They are just that good.

These three are just brilliant.

calvin2

This is the last comic strip Watterson did for Calvin and Hobbes.  It’s a magical world…let’s go exploring!calvin-and-hobbes-lets-go-exploringI have a file of my favorite comic strips on my computer and facebook and I turn to it quite frequently. Whether it’s Dilbert in his office, Charlie Brown questioning the world or Calvin and Hobbes on an adventure they always make me smile.  (I need to do posts on Peanuts and Dilbert too)

Do you like Calvin and Hobbes?  Why do you think they have remained so popular? What do you like about them?  Any above that stand out for you?

Kids Goggles and Books

Hey guys!  Hope you are all doing well.  I’ve had a rough couple of weeks.  Being sick for 6 weeks was not only unpleasant but it messed up my sleep patterns and I’m not sure how to get things back on track.  I’ve been unable to go to sleep until 3am plus.  To make matters worse I end up working in the early hours because I have to use the time for something and make up for some lost morning time.  The whole thing is a huge problem.

Anyway, I’ve also been reading a lot lately.  Last month for book club we read the children classic Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.  This is a book I remember reading as a child and finding totally engrossing. It tells the story of a Danish family who, along with others, helps Jewish families out of Denmark to Sweden during WWII.   It is a very good piece to introduce children to the idea of WWII and the Holocaust without beating them over the head with it.

That said…I found this read through to be tough going.  Even though it is a very short book it felt very long (and this from the girl who reads North and South twice a year!).  Everything was so predictable and I wasn’t engaged at all in what was happening.  I could still recognize why I might have enjoyed it as a child, but as an adult I did not enjoy reading it.

I’ve had this happen several times in the last few years where something I loved in childhood does not hold the same charm to me as an adult.  Have you ever had this happen?  Of course, some things I liked then I like now such as Little Women, Anne of Green Gables and The Secret Garden.  Some things I didn’t like then but like now such as Wrinkle in Time.

As I’ve wondered about these differing reactions it made me realize I am not very good at looking through ‘kid goggles’.  What I mean by that is I cannot imagine what a child would think about a book and then somehow get more out of it because a child would get more out of it.  Some people can do that, like my sister Megan, but I cannot.

All that I can do is like something for who I am now and the personal filters and needs I have now.  Even if I did try to guess what a child might think or react I would probably get such guesses wrong. I mean with my younger siblings I rarely was able to gauge what they would like or feel comfortable with.

Even if I did guess what a child would like does that mean that I have liked it any more or less?  I don’t think so.  If I like it, I like it.  It’s that simple.   I can respect it and realize it just isn’t for me but I can’t look through kid goggles and pretend to enjoy something that I’m not enjoying. Other people seem to be able to do this but I can’t.

Now if someone asks me ‘do you think Madeline will like this book?’ then I can go back and think of that particular teen/child and decide if they would like it but making a judgement of ‘well I thought it was boring but I think the kid-me would have liked it’.  That’s probably not going to happen.

It might just me but it seems like the older I get the more picky I am but then again I like my share of indefensible fluff so who knows.  I guess I like what I like and sometimes what I like changes.  Is that convoluted enough for you?

What about you guys- do you find there are things from your youth that are hard for you to get into as an adult?  What is it?

kids-on-books

 

Kids Have it Good

So I hated being a kid.  I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be more grown up, more mature.  While I could never go back to being told what to do and how to do it all the time (wasn’t good at that when I was a kid), there are some perks that I wouldn’t mind having.  (It’d be like the movie Big but in reverse, go back to being a kid.  Script in there!)

I was thinking about this today when I was trying to decide what to eat and nothing looked good.  I seem to shop all the time but never have much to eat or that I feel like eating.  (I know, a first world problem but there you go).   As I was staring into the fridge I couldn’t help but think ‘I wish my Mother was here to make me dinner…’.  My Mom is an excellent cook and I definitely didn’t appreciate the gift of having a delicious meal placed before me every night growing up.  What a treat that was!

This memory of my Mom’s cooking started me on the thought track listed below:

Reasons Kids Have it Made:

1. Food of Some Kind Provided to them (in most situations) 3 meals a day

2. They don’t have to do meal planning, shopping list making, or have spices for whatever is made (I am always short something when I cook)

3. They could read all day and it be considered a good thing

4. They have activities like piano lessons and art classes paid for and encouraged.

5. They have time to take piano lessons and art classes

6. They can act like fools and it is seen as charming, not idiotic

7.  They don’t have to worry about dating, relationships or your biological clock running out!

8. They have someone who plans birthday parties for them and Santa still brings them presents.

9. They get driven everywhere and are completely oblivious of road rage, distracted driving and trying to navigate through town

10. When they do chores around the house they get an allowance. Those end when you become an adult! 😉

11. Their only job is to learn and get along with people.  (That I am most envious of!)

12. They should be able to eat without freaking out over carbs, fat grams, sodium, sugar and dieting

13. They have more to look forward to than to look back on

14. They have someone to make them soup and go to the pharmacy when they are sick

15. They have someone to help them on projects or doing most anything.

16.  They can have imaginary friends and talk to themselves and everyone thinks it’s charming not psychotic

17.  They have leaders, teachers, parents and others who are all thinking of how they can challenge/entertain them

18.  They don’t have to work and worry about money

19. They don’t have to worry about politics, current events or anything they can’t control

20.  They still have energy at the end of the day!

So there you go.  Enjoy it kids while you can!  Goodness knows I should have!  (I guess when it comes down to it kids are lucky because they still, or should, have a Mother at home)

What would you add to the list?

198859_5004862238_180_n 198847_5004837238_8705_n

Blogger in Training

Today I finished work a little early and started looking for photos of me at the 2002 Olympics (post to be coming on 10 year anniversary.  Still can’t find photos!).

As I was looking through my old stuff (yes, I am a pack-rat and yes, I love it!), I found a bunch of old newspapers my sister and I made, current events logs, and journals I kept.   The thing that is amazing is how little I’ve really changed.  The basic Rachel at 31 is in many ways the same at 8, 13, 15, etc.

I think the Jesuits might be right- “Give me the child of seven, and I will give you the man.”

A couple things that I noticed from looking at these journals.

First,  how much I craved being special, being recognized, being first.  For example, I HAD to have this photo taken by the crayons because it was special.  It wasn’t my Dad, the professional photographer, taking photos.  It wasn’t even the regular school shots.  It was different and fun.  The smile on my face shows a lot.

Even my reactions to the people in my life seemed to carry more meaning than they might to other children.  When Anna was just a baby we went to Disneyland and I write “I had an outrageous time in Disneyland.  I remember how Anna was always laughing when I tickled her! I also went on a lot of rides and had a lot of fun” (12-31-1991).  Isn’t it interesting that the laugh of a sister produced the same degree of glee as rides at Disneyland?

Second, express basically the same interests then as I have now. Entries like “today we went swimming for a whole hour” are common with big exclamation points. I speak about cooking and when my friend loses her brother in an accident I say ‘our family brought them food on Sunday and I made an apple pie (All by myself no help from Mom!!) with homemade flaky crust and I cut the apples…’.  See how independent and strong I was but with such a desire to serve those in need? I would still feel great about making an apple pie by myself (although I highly doubt I did so at the time!).

Third, I was always confident in my testimony of my church and in Jesus Christ.  October 21, 1990, “I love the Lord and Jesus Christ and I love it even more when you go to a place and have a great feeling and that place is the place where sins vanish.  In the stake center or a church building when you are baptized and confirmed”. At a very young age I knew that the church was true and I could always feel it, never doubted.  Once I made a decision I was done. Luckily for my parents, I made a lot of good choices!

At an older age (probably 13) I said “The thing about knowledge is once we have a testimony.  We must use it!  Missionary work is very important.  I know not everyone can be a full time missionary.  But we need  to use our knowledge to set a good example.  If a friend swears you must (underlined) tell them to stop.  Because it is better that you be embarrassed or picked on or made fun of than to make Heavenly Father sad” (quite a statement for a girl who was routinely picked on…).

Fourth, it is amazing is how knowledgeable and fascinated I was by the news of the day and I had no problem expressing my opinion on those subjects (sound like anyone you know?).  For example, after hearing one of President Clinton’s speeches I wrote:

“I’m sorry but I didn’t buy the President’s speech!  All the emphasis on working together and cutting taxes.  He sounded just like Rush Limbaugh.  If the president really plans to be better than great, but the Republican congress should not be in tears and all touched by Clinton’s speech though…The Republicans and the American’s just say to Clinton if you want to follow, follow, but you’re not leading” (Fall, 1994). What 13 year old says things like that? I love it!

Its funny I can totally see the strabimus problem in this photo. I notice it all the time now. Things are just slightly off symmetry.

I even had an opinion on Charles and Diana getting divorced, saying “I can see how their marriage went bad.  Charles being forced to marry.  I also think that when Charles married they were more in lust not in love.  Prince Charles should still be allowed to be King”

I just think it is amazing that a child even knew about such things and then had the gumption to venture an opinion. I even have entries where I talk about balancing the budget and cutting taxes.  In one of our newspapers I give an update on the 1991 primary presidential election and that ‘Bill Clinton is doing very well’.

In high school I wrote “When I was a little girl I thought that everyone was special and everyone liked everyone else no matter what they looked like”.  I think that was true, even about myself.  I thought that I was special and I still do… I had a great desire to make others happy.  I talk about sharing my testimony with others a lot because it was something that made me happy.

“Some think that they are too busy, or that they need Sunday to go on vacation or to fish, boat or ski.  we must all think about the opportunities we have everyday where we can influence people, and use them to benefit mankind.  We must not only attend church, we must live a life worthy of the church’s standards.  We must invite as many people as possible to activities. We shouldn’t count on the government to do everything…”

Can’t you just see the little blogger inside some of those words? I’ve hopefully polished it a bit and gotten a bit more open-minded but the core is there.  That desire to make others happy, to feel happy myself and to speak my mind is still with me.

One last quote

“What would happen if everyone made a special effort to love someone every day.  People would be friendlier and less people would turn to evil.  Too many people are trying to fit in with their friends instead of having their friends fit into their beliefs and personality.  The only people who are cool are the people who aren’t trying to be.  We need to realize that with just giving the friendship, people would have no reason to want to fit in and drug abuse and crime would drop.” (1992, school journal)

There you have it my friends…

A Good Laugh

With all the sadness in the world right now (Japan, Libya, Egypt…) sometimes it is nice to have a good laugh.  I don’t even have kids but I thought this was really funny.  I’m sure anyone with kids can relate.  Enjoy!

Things Learned From Children

1.  There is no such thing as child-proofing your house.

2.  If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.

3.  A 4 year-old’s voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.

4. If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42 pound boy wearing pound puppy underwear and a superman cape.

5. It is strong enough, however, to spread paint on all four walls of a 20 by 20 foot room.

6.  Baseballs make marks on ceilings

7.  You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on.

8.  When using the ceiling fan as a bat you have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit.

9.  A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.

10.  The glass in windows (even double pane) doesn’t stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.

11. When you hear the toilet flush and the words, “Uh-oh,” it’s already too late.

12. Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke, and lots of it.

13. A six year old can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36 year old man says they can only do it in the movies.

14.  A magnifying glass can start a fire even on an overcast day.

15. If you use a waterbed as home plate while wearing baseball shoes it does not leak – it explodes.

16. A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 sq foot house 4 inches deep.

17. LEGOS will pass through the digestive tract of a four year old.

18.  Duplos will not.

19. Super glue is forever.

20.  Play Dough and Microwave should never be used in the same sentence.

21. McGyver can teach us many things we don’t want to know.

22.  Ditto Tarzan.

23. No matter how much Jell-O you put in a swimming pool you still can’t walk on water.

24. Pool filters do not like Jell-O.

25. VCR’s do not eject PB&J sandwiches even though TV commercials show they do.

26. Always look in the oven before you turn it on.{that durn hamster…}

27. The fire department has at least a 5 minute response time.

28. The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earth worms dizzy..

29. It will however make cats dizzy.

30. Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.

31.  Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.

32.  Marbles in gas tanks make lots of noise when driving.

33.  You probably do not want to know what that odor is.

34.  Plastic toys do not like ovens.

35.  Quiet does not necessarily mean don’t worry.

36.  A good sense of humor will get you through most problems in life (unfortunately, mostly in retrospect).

37.  2:00 AM is not a good time to hear, “Daddy, diapers don’t flush!”

38.  No time is a good time to hear, “Daddy, your tires are ‘hisssssing.'”

39.  You never want to hear, “Watch me fly!” coming from the roof.

40.  Nor do you want to hear, “Your new cell phone doesn’t work underwater.”

41.  Driveway seal coating and children DO NOT MIX!

42.  Never light fireworks inside.

43.  Under the bed is not a good place to save snowballs for summer.

44.  Bugs are not a dietary supplement.

45.  Walnuts make the blender act funny.

46.  Scissors and hair are often a dangerous combination.

47.  Collecting things is good.

48.  Collecting things that come out of your nose is not.

49.  Eating string is a bad hobby.

50.  Discovering string the next day is a disgusting hobby.

51.  Finger painting is good.

52.  Finger painting walls is dangerous.

53.  If you hear the words, “Can ya eat a lizard’s tail?” it’s too late.

54.  If you hear the words, “Guess what’s in my hands,” you don’t want to know.

55.  If you hear the words, “Guess what’s in my mouth,” you REALLY don’t want to know.

56.  ‘Fan’ and ‘flour’ should never be heard in the same sentence.

57.  The toilet does not make a permanent fish aquarium.

58.  Most toilets can not consume an entire roll of toilet paper without choking.

59.  Any sentence which contains the word ‘Oooops’ is bad.

60.  Any sentence beginning with, “How much do you love me?” means ‘prepare for bad news’.