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A childhood dream

THERE’S a childhood dream of mine I’m still in pursuit of. It’s to become an animator.

Most people grin widely when I tell them this. Others be like, “huh?”

I shrug and carry on.

To me, there’s something entirely magical about making lines move on a page. It’s the art of illusion, making stuff appear that logically doesn’t exist. It’s a fantastical notion. Think about it: you can literally imagine things to be true, and create the illusion that they are! Some will shoot this idea down. As will grumpy people. I shrug and carry on. The reason? This idea has far-reaching application for me. You see, I’m a parent.

And as any battle-hardened soldier in the parent force will tell you, nothing is harder than behaviour modification in young children. Particularly in the areas of cleaning up after oneself and bedtime curfews.

BUT! Fortunately, there is no shortage of imagination with kids. And if you can tap into that… you’re a soundtrack and an illusion away from remarkable results.

In our home, it was the introduction of a character called Pickle (above). Pickle is a Knight. The chronicles of Pickle the Knight are best recounted just before sleep time. This has two advantages:

  1. A bedtime story… which means kids actually have to be in bed. (Tick!)
  2. Appropriation of the character and re-enactment. This is surprisingly effective…

…you see, Pickle collects firewood for the firepit (toys which belong in the toy box), and rescues damsels in distress (scattered teddy bears and dolls lying around the room)…

…and stabs dragons in the underbelly with his sword (picks up clothes with the stray hockey stick).

As I say, I’m going to become an animator. The storyboarding happens nightly, and the soundtrack to accompany it is full of the most fantastical sound effects that can only be achieved by kids and one’s own personal exhaustion that results in craziness. Down the passageway, my wife rolls her eyes at all the weird and wonderful booms and fumes echoing from the bedroom.

I shrug and carry on. I’m becoming an animator.

So, that’s that. What’s your childhood dream?

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