May 4, 2013 § Leave a Comment
As a kid, my all-time favorite book was Paddle-to-the-Sea. Remember it? Author Holling Clancy Holling takes us on a trip with a toy indian in a birchbark canoe from a Canadian headwater north of Lake Huron, through the Great Lakes, down the St. Lawrence river, past Montreal, and onto the Atlantic Ocean.
The story begins with an indian boy, perhaps 10 years old, carving “Paddle” during the winter months after learning that the water in the brook near his home is destined to tumble over the land all the way to the sea. He thinks he might never make the trip himself, so he decides to send a representative in his place.
Paddle has many adventures on his way to the sea. He is visited by snakes and birds. He is nearly sliced up in a saw mill, run down by ships, and he disappears for months under snow and ice during the long winter. He plummets down the falls at Niagara, and slips silently past noisy, dirty cities. He soldiers on and eventually reaches the Atlantic.
I need not retell the entire story. The book, a 1942 Caldecott Medal winner, is timeless and still in print.
As a kid, I was spellbound by the possibility that a bold traveller could go so far with his tiny boat, never stepping a foot on shore. No roads. No trains. No traffic. No un-passable obstructions.
May 1, 2013 § Leave a Comment
April 23, 2013 § 2 Comments
If you’ve participated in a Saving Sailing town-call, you’ll recall talking about how sailing (and other important outdoor experiences) suffer under the media avalanche that buries most kids. Of course, the problem transcends sailing. Schools, family and neighborhoods have been crushed too.
I’ve started a new blog called FamilyNeighborhoodSchool.com to study the problem and discuss solutions. I hope you’ll follow it too.
- Nicholas Hayes, Author of Saving Sailing
Have you ever witnessed a kid fast forward through the previews on a rented DVD, or call out Britney Spears swigging a Pepsi as a ploy to get you to consume more corn syrup? Not all kids know advertising to be propaganda, but taking the lead from an adult, some do. Credit the young mind with the ability to grasp symbols and metaphor and see through distortion or exaggeration. When abstract thinking develops, bright colors and catchy music might still attract attention, but a kid can understand that it might be toward something being sold. Kids are smart.
To be clear, advertising messages do shape public opinion, especially those of the impressionable or the emotional. But like emotions, messages and public opinion are fleeting; they are just words, pictures, and fads that fade or shift with time. The impressionable grow up. The emotional find new cares.
Measured in durability over years, messages pale in comparison with experiences in defining who we are, what we believe, and how we act throughout our lives.
Kids don’t become what they see on TV or the Internet. They become what they do. Read more.