Imaginary Friends and Make-Believe Games

Children have some remarkable imaginations about them. I was eavesdropping today on the two mothers at work, and they were talking about how their children went into the curious phase – they keep asking “What’s this?” and “But why?” and “How, Mommy?”.

It made me remember the awesome things that we could do when we were kids. We could climb up on the jungle-gym, and we’d decide we were on a ship, and lo and behold, we were on a ship. We could be animals, we could be oppisate genders. I had a particular friend who wanted to be Ariel, the Little Mermaid, and that I’d be her father. This friend was a boy. But it didn’t matter then, did it, because it was normal, we were all just curious.

Imaginary friends were the best thing ever. They were invisible, they had super-powers, they had everything we couldn’t have and everything we wanted desperately. But we never got jealous of them, we never got angry at them. They were the best companions we could ever have.

In Sophie’s World, an excellent book by the way, there’s a lot of emphasis on how the curiosity of children is what makes them demand answers to everything all the time, that philosophers are the ones who never lose that child-like curiosity, the intense need to know WHY.

Getting old and bitter and losing any trace of curiousity is, I think, the most scary thing in the world.


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