“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” ~Fred Rogers
Why, as a society, have we deviated so far from this mindset? We push our kids into a tiny, constrained box, and expect them to behave accordingly. (And that box continually gets smaller and smaller.) Subsequently, when our children don’t conform to society’s perception of a “good” child, we slap labels on them. And why? Is it because we’d rather parent and educate automatons as opposed to vibrant, precocious, inquisitive and curious little beings that take energy, time and effort? That’s a rhetorical question, folks, but one we seriously need to consider. As the parent of both a 32 year old and five year old, I say this with authority and from a VERY unique perspective.
Bear in mind, I say this as the parent of a child who definitely has all the classic characteristics associated with high-functioning Aspergers. BUT, I’ve encountered more than a few medical professionals who recklessly want to add additional letters to his diagnosis. I also see so many other kids who are simply playful, curious, active, etc., who clearly don’t deserve to be alphabet soup children. I want to shout, “THEY’RE JUST KIDS, for Pete’s sake! LET THEM BE KIDS!” We need to take charge and advocate for them. We really do. We are THE VOICE for our littles. Certainly not the schools. Not the doctors. Not the busy bodies in the grocery store. We, the parents, are their voice.