Have you ever sometimes wondered what exactly your kids are thinking? Not in an angry way, like when you find them sitting with a marker and a guilty look on their face after they have somehow colored all over themselves and the adjacent wall. A direct question like that might very well be appropriate for that scenario. But what is the exact cognitive development process they go through to draw a certain conclusion from an initial thought? Certainly you have pondered these questions subconsciously or in conversation with your spouse. As a parent, we all wonder what resonates and what doesn’t with our children.
Have you EVER considered how your children are influenced by what they read, hear or interpret from outside sources? I think about that just about every day. I want to protect my kids, but also don’t want be so overbearing that they are not afforded the opportunity to take in information and process it on their own. I want them to “just be a kid”, wide-eyed and inquisitive. It is my job as a father to ultimately guide them in properly interpreting their experiences. I keep my proverbial fingers crossed that my feedback and involvement will help enhance their childhood and little by little teach them to be a loving kid who makes good choices in life. No matter what curve balls life throws at them.
Wait, your website is JaWaVi Films and so far, this post seems like it is turning into a Dr. Phil episode. What does this post have to do with anything video related?
Good question. At first, my goal was to simply put this short, 20 second video on my blog because I found it amusing; just a fun, little glimpse into the mind of a five-year-old. But as I began writing, I suddenly turned into some amateur elementary school psychologist. Which, by the way, could not be any farther from the truth, but I do feel like one at times. Basically, I am a husband and a dad with a degree in speech communication, not child psychology. But, I have three kids and I’ve been doing this whole father thing since 2006, I sometimes feel as if I’m renown French psychologist, Jean Piaget having earned some kind of an honorary doctorate in kid psychology. Now that I have established such a potentially serious tone and theme for this post, let me dive right into why I posed such a question in the first place. So, this post and the video that accompanies it are not serious at all. There is also a good chance that you, the reader might not find it as amusing as I did either. Alas, life is full of taking calculated risks, right?
At the end of this post, you will see the aforementioned video clip of my middle child, Walker. It takes place at a park in San Francisco. My camera was put away and my wife and I were trying to gather up our three to move on to our next sightseeing adventure. If I remember correctly, it was time to take a ride on the famous San Francisco cable car. As we were packing up, I had noticed out of the corner of my eye that little Walker was way off to the side, talking to himself, quietly mumbling like he was trying to come to terms with some internal debate or argument he was having with himself. As I approached, I noticed he looked so angelic, standing there wearing his favorite hat, holding a red balloon and seemingly just taking in the beautiful day. As I drew closer, I quickly realized he was having a conversation with himself (not out of the ordinary for him). Finally, within earshot of him broadcasting his inner monologue I was able to make out a few words.
He was talking about pigeons!?!
We live in Athens, Georgia, which has some pigeons downtown but I suppose they are not as prolific or abundant as they are in a big city like San Francisco. He was absolutely fascinated by the daggum pigeons. It was all the little guy wanted to discuss and ask questions about. His mannerisms (and surely a glimpse into how he would’ve cared for his new pigeon friend, should he have caught one) reminded me of that classic Looney Tunes short of when the Abominable Snowman took favor to Daffy Duck dressed in a rabbit costume. Seemingly a bit of an allegory to John Steinbeck’s Classic, “Of Mice and Men” in how Lenny constantly wanted to tend to the rabbits.
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It was cute to me that in his mind he wanted a pigeon for himself. So, if you want a pigeon, you must have a plan to capture a pigeon, right? At this point, I had already figured out the initial question I posed at the beginning of this piece as it pertained to Walker at that exact time and place. But my wife had no clue and was demonstrating that calm yet troubled look which every mother on this planet has the ability to produce on her face. There was nothing truly worrisome and I gave my wife that reassuring dad glance like, “It’s okay, I’ve got this”. I knew exactly what Walker was thinking and talking about and I was laughing inside at his overall plan. I grabbed my iPhone flipped it to video and asked him to repeat what he had just been talking about.
We love to travel with our children and the context of this post takes place in the summer of 2013. A couple of years ago, yes, but I did not have a blog at that point and really had no way of sharing this funny little video. I initially thought about just sharing the little clip on Facebook or Instagram, but without context, I feared someone might take it the wrong way. My wife, three children and I packed up and took a cross country trip to the west coast. Naturally, I was quite nervous about the 5 hour flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles, so I downloaded a peculiar looking app on my iPad to keep my older two entertained.
The app is called Spooky Manor. Basically a pretty simple, creatively animated point and click adventure game, which allows you to solve entertaining brain teasers to advance the story. As you pick up inventory items and solve more puzzles, you are able to advance through the game and eventually come to an exciting conclusion. It is age appropriate for young kids and even challenged me enough to want to play it with them. Almost like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. Very fun!
RELATED: See The Movie Trailer I Created From Our Left Coast Adventure (embedded at the end of my previous post)
It was our fourth and penultimate day on our Left Coast Adventure. After hanging out in Los Angeles for a couple of days we had made the beautiful drive up to San Francisco. Throughout that time, the boys and I had plenty of opportunities to continue to plod our way through Spooky Manor. You could say
they were we all were pretty obsessed by then.
At some point in the game, as you weave through different actions, which open up new opportunities for you to complete, you come across a pigeon sitting on a post quietly eating some birdseed. Stay with me, I haven’t gone completely mad, just trying to set up the context of the video and Walker’s thought process as best I can. So at this point, you’re not sure what to do and you decide to tap the pigeon. In Walker’s eyes he had just figured out how he would be able to gain an advantage over one of nature’s most omnipresent flying creatures. There was just something about the pigeon to him…
By tapping on the screen, the pigeon is scared away. You can just imagine the suspense that my boys were in at the moment. They were smart enough to ask, what do you need with a pigeon? I was wondering the same thing until we advanced in the story a little farther. When we picked up this next item, I, the dad who has all of the answers (at least in their eyes) knew what to do.
Venturing back inside, you pick up some sleeping pills for your inventory to use. I thought to myself, “no way“, as my wheels started turning, because I had a pretty good idea what the sleeping pills were for. They boys didn’t know why I was so sure of what I needed to do with the new inventory item. Maybe the creators of the game had a sense of humor. I think they boys were stuck at this moment of the game, not sure of what to do next. So, I snatched the iPad away, acting like a kid myself, to proclaim that I knew exactly what to do with those sleeping pills. They were sort of slack jawed at my enthusiasm for wanting to take over their game in order to execute (no pun intended) the perfect “next move”.
You guessed it! You put the sleeping pills on the birdtable in hopes that the pigeon will soon come back to discover its new tasty treat. My seven year old started to quickly understand what would happen and called it right away, but I remember looking over at Walker and he was just quietly staring, not saying a word. He was pretty much in a Spooky Manor trance.
After traveling back into the Spooky Manor and then back out, alas, you will find out that the sleeping pills did the trick. They knocked out the pigeon and you can then add that cute little (hopefully sleeping) pigeon to your inventory to solve another part of the puzzle. At this point in my story, I don’t even really remember what you need the pigeon for in Spooky Manor. Surely by now, you’ve either quit reading this crazy post all together or are so intrigued by this game, you have abandoned my story to go download Spooky Manor for yourself.
Walker for sure didn’t need anymore information. In his mind he now knew how he would be able to capture his very own pigeon. Now here’s a little disclaimer, I think I said, “Oh, the sleeping pills killed the pigeon, now we can add it to our inventory.” That seemed to be the easiest way to describe what had happened. I didn’t think about how my kids, especially Walker, in the early stages of his very own cognitive development, would process the visual along with my words to deduce that the pigeon had croaked.
Enough of the buildup. Here is the cute video of Walker verbally coming to terms in his own sweet way about the best maneuvers he would need to take in order to capture a pigeon. So, as I try to teach him each and every day, and after I turned the camera off, I filled in the blanks for him explaining that killing pigeons or any of God’s creatures is never the answer. I think he understood.
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Before I hit publish on this post, I had my wife read it. She had seen this quick little video before and laughed at it along with our family. It was funny because she had no earthly idea that there was a game called Spooky Manor and that the boys and I had been obsessing over it during some of the down time during our trip to California. But now, she understands completely how our little five year old, in his mind, would come up with a reasoning of his own to
kill capture a pigeon with sleeping pills based on what he had seen on a simple game.
A little more than a year and a half has passed since this family vacation and Walker has still yet to capture a pigeon, although he maintains his place in our family as our resident frog, turtle and lizard catcher and can do it with his own hands, he doesn’t require any PEDs such as sleeping pills. Isn’t being a kid (and that kid’s dad) fun!?![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]