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Saturday, 29-Apr-2017 19:12:55 EDT
just because smarties make you smart
by SHEILA QUINN
FAMILY

There are many joys from my childhood that I love sharing with my kids but, as today's children are so different than those from just one generation ago, it's proven to be tricky for the most part. My attempts to pass on to them what had once been cool to me usually ends badly. In their eyes while I'm talking, I transform into an alien-like being – their blank stares and immediate wise cracks once I'm done, well, I may as well have two heads, no teeth, and a garbled blue-tongued speech.

When you have a brain cramp, a dose of Smarties might be in order!

It's okay, certainly not worth agonizing over, because their modern sense of childhood entertainment (aka their wasted time spent in front of their neverending supply of screens and gadgets) is foreign to me at best. Bottom line, I don't feel it's good for them socially, emotionally, or mentally but every once in a while I succeed with something that is real. Is that even humanly possible, you ask? Yes, on that rare occasion, even 'I' can be temporarily cool. That is if, and only if in my excitement I don't push it too far... too far to threaten the burst of that very, very delicate bubble.

Just the other night, I was scolding one of my children to get off her screen and encouraged her to develop her talents instead. She said she didn't know what to do and when I suggested that she draw, she muttered where her drawing capabilities would lead her in life with a sense of doom.

I called her to come to me immediately, lectured her a bit for not believing in herself and her natural artistic ability, and then pulled up one of my favourite music videos of all time for her: A-Ha's Take on Me,1985. My daughter was transfixed by the drawings in the video and before long, everyone else joined us behind my computer screen. We watched the clip several times – they loved it, asked a million questions about the story and animation, felt inspired, and... wait for it... they even liked the song! A-ha!! A pun if you will, yes – please forgive me.

It's not always, but I often turn to the 80s to inspire my children. The 80s is a decade I remember for its incredible creativity that spawned the popular 'outside-of-the-box' thinking towards its end that spilled into the 90s – years before everything got boring again. I was a teenager then with a sense of creative freedom that I feel is lacking in today's children. Everything I looked at inspired new ideas and thoughts, right down to the packaging of the boxes of Smarties I would purchase near-daily at my high school's candy store. I convinced myself that Smarties made me smart and revelled privately in the power of this tiny, silly bit of knowledge.

The student volunteers at the candy store eventually asked why I only ever bought Smarties... I couldn't help it, I was compelled to spill my little secret, "Just because Smarties make you smart!"

It can only be by remote coincidence that, shortly thereafter, the supply of Smarties could not keep up with the demand at my school. Word had seemingly spread. More frequently than not, I saw students walking through the hallways holding boxes of my precious little candies and I would hear them boast that they made them smart. I remember thinking, 'Hey, that's my line!' and how I pouted over the fact that, yet again, the store was sold out of Smarties by the time I had gotten there. I wonder how many of my former classmates remember this? And I'm equally curious if, today, they tell their children that a candy can make them smart...

As I sit here writing this now, I am convinced that I'm in serious need of a dose of those magical Smarties. You see, my dear Readers, I cannot decipher how this story will be received by my children – cool to them or not? I ponder for moments too long as I really have no idea if I will sprout another head or two, or if it's going to be like those times where I've turned green in front of their glassy eyes just moments before they return to their screens without having said a word! It only matters to me because I think they're losing out on something – innocent opportunities to be imaginative and alive.

That having been said, maybe I'll just leave them to read about it here and wait for the day they stumble across it... Ya, that's probably the better plan – the idea being that a 'find' sometimes is better than being 'told', right? So I guess until they ask me about it, I will treasure my silent joy each time I see their excitement about a tiny little box of Smarties.

To be continued...

Sheila Quinn
©2013 SayItCanada.ca. All rights reserved.

COMMENTS

On SATURDAY, APRIL 20, 2013 at 9:28pm EST from VANCOUVER, BC

YAQ – Funny!

On SUNDAY, APRIL 28, 2013 at 11:36pm EST from SURREY, BC

DW – Maybe your children could be onto something! If some famous people are addicted to Smarties, who are we to say that Smarties don’t make you smart? It is worth thinking about indeed!

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