Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sometimes Clouds Yell (a.k.a. Mythic Thinking)

This morning we were in the midst of a big thunderstorm, and this caused a bit of fear in our house. Both Joseph and Spot were scared by the thunder; Joseph looked at me as if he wanted to know what that horrible sound could be, and Spot just sat there shaking. I told Joseph "Oh, that is just the Clouds talking to each other, sometimes they yell." This seemed to mostly satisfy him, but then he noticed how scared Spot looked and said "Spot is scared." I just said "Yes, Spot is scared, but he doesn't understand that it is just the clouds talking." Then Joseph was O.K. with all the noise. After his nap in the afternoon, another bout of thundering began, and Joseph got a far away look in his eyes. I asked him "What was that?" to see what he would say. He said "The Clouds talking." For fun I took it further and asked him "What are they talking about?" He responded in all seriousness "Cars. Talking about cars." A little while later, of his own accord, he told me "The Clouds are riding around in Cars."

This was so neat for me, because it relates to the last book I read The Power of Play by David Elkind. According to David Elkind, children don't reach the Age of Reason until they are somewhere around 6 or 7. This is when they can reason things out like adults, and want more scientific type explanations for phenomena. Before the age of reason, children's mode of thinking is mythic, or syncretic, which means they understand the world in a more concrete way than do adults and older children. Elkind states that this is how young children want things explained when they start asking about the world, and recommends that this is how we should deal with the never ending 'whys'. I thought about this when I thought up my talking Clouds, and it worked like a charm. It was amazing to me that by the end of it all, Joseph had created his own Myth about clouds that involved cars. I suspect that I will use this method often in the future, because not only did it work really well, but it was a lot of fun too, for both me and Joseph. Now if only I can figure out what to tell Spot...

4 comments:

Theresa said...

Very imaginitive, the clouds are riding around in cars. This, unfortunately, never lasts long enough; our kids ask for the real expanation for everything, and that gets tricky sometimes. For example, try explaining homosexuality when they haven't really got their ideas about sex straight yet. I mean, they know the basics, but some things are still over their heads.

Umm, you could tell Spot it's just a couple of bones rattling, dogs love a good bone.

Marina said...

Found your blog via the OUAT Challenge--I like your non-book posts (I do ec with my son, too); I'll bookmark your site for future reading.

I think it's refreshing that you're not reading any Gaiman for the challenge.

Michelle Liebgott-Osinga said...

Theresa, I sure can wait until then! I'm sure it gets very complicated, especially with kids of different ages in the same house.

Michelle Liebgott-Osinga said...

Hi Marina, I'm glad you are enjoying my blog. I was not to sure about doing the OUAT Challenge because I don't really think of my reading tastes to be very much in the Fantasy category, though I do often seem to be off in other realms. Fantasy or not, the Challenge seemed mostly to be about more mystical literature.