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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Lesson from Frog and Toad

Sunday, we took the kids to see A Year with Frog and Toad at the Dallas Children's Theater. This is the fourth play we've attended, and we've enjoyed them all so much that we're buying a multi-play package next year.

For this play, the main characters were dressed in old fashioned, business type clothing. No green make up. No masks. No furry froggy suits.

During intermission, Jasmine said, "I thought they were going to be real 'frog and toads', like in the book, not just 'mens' dressed up in clothes." I whispered, "Me too, Jazz."

It reminded me of a time when I was in college and my sorority took a group of kids to a museum exhibit entitled, A Slave Ship Speaks. I spent the whole time wondering to myself where the slave ship was until one of the kids asked, "Where's the slave ship?" and we all admitted we'd been wondering the same thing.

The kids and I have been listening to Jim Weiss' recording of The Emperor's New Clothes, and the same thing happened in that story. A child exposed the emperor's nakedness while all the adults stood around pretending the emperor was dressed so everyone would think they were intelligent. Kinda dumb, huh?

One of my favorite homeschooling books is How Children Fail by unschooling advocate, John Holt. In his book, Holt outlines the process by which school creates fear in children, causing them to stop telling the truth and start looking for cues from others as to what they should and shouldn't say. He says traditional schools cause students to stop pursuing knowledge, and instead become skilled at avoiding embarrassment, disapproval, and failure.

I'm glad my children haven't learned those lessons, despite my many failings as their teacher. I'm glad they still feel safe enough to say, "Something's not quite right about this..."

As we were leaving the theater on Sunday, I heard a kid say, "That was boring!" as his mom desperately tried to shush him. I sure hope there's a way to promote honest sharing in my children without giving them free reign to totally humiliate me!


Freakmom said...

Interesting observation. It has me wondering how many times I've tried to shush a kid asking innocent, but relevant, questions. Why are things they way they are.

Kim said...

My oldest already has a fear of failure! The last thing she needs is more pressure to be right from other kids. She gives herself enough.

Denise said...

We loved the Frog & Toad stories when the kids were younger. I didn't know they'd made a play out of them.

How easy it is to fall into the trap of trying to teach our kids to "fit in," rather than listening to them. Thanks for the reminder!

Leslie said...

We saw the show at the DCT too! We went during the Target Time Family Series matinee.