Nov 29

Are we really qualified to teach children?

I had something else I was going to post. About children and how easily they pick things up from television. But, here in Ireland, we’re in a crisis brought about by the decision of the government to pay private banking debts with public money. It’s sinking the country. And the Wikileaks cable documents serve as a reminder of some of the other crap that goes on in the adult world.

Dark uncertain times.

Not like preschool television, where everything is bright, everyone helps everyone else and things work out for the best for everybody. As I sit genuinely pissed off at the adult world around me, I can’t help but be reminded why I love children’s television.

Children are amazing.

They are creative naturally. We don’t have to teach them to be creative. All we have to do is not stifle it. They are explorers. Adventurers. Children embrace fun and allow themselves to experience excitement and joy. That’s something, as adults, we seem far more reluctant to do. Children are problem solvers. Children love to laugh – children develop their own sense of humour.

Many of us in children’s television spend so much time trying to figure out what we’re going to teach children. But so many of those things children do far better than us are on the list of things adults try to teach children. Some even have claimed that we have to teach them such fundamental things as a sense of humour (worth pointing out that one particular US children’s block that set out with that aim didn’t last long).

Of all the things we as people are capable of – and we’re capable of wonderful things, wonderful expressions of life, wonderful acts of creativity, wonderful acts of kindness ‘ so many of those things come naturally to children but become harder and harder as we grow up. Okay, yes, there are plenty of things children do that we wouldn’t want to do as adults and the whole concept of sharing is one that is tough for many to grasp (well, lots of us carry that into adulthood). Nevertheless, children are amazing. And we can’t in any way claim as adults that we’ve got it all figured out.


Perhaps we should spend less time wondering what we can teach children and spend more time trying to learn from them.

In the meantime, I will continue to try to create colourful worlds where everything is bright, everyone helps everyone else and things work out for the best for everybody. Both in and out of television.

6 thoughts on “Are we really qualified to teach children?

  1. Andy Latham

    Please will you make a show for me? I yearn for exactly the type of thing you mention in your last paragraph, but for adults. So much dreariness on TV!

    Oh and can you do the same for games please? When did videogames become black, grey and brown? Where’s the yellow? The blue? The pink? These colours still exist right?

  2. Jay Post author

    I was totally thinking the same while playing Fallout 3 a while back. It’s utterly miserable. And trying to find a game that isn’t miserable is not an easy task. Couldn’t they put all the same gameplay tricks and effort into something bright, cheerful and full of pleasant things?

    Perhaps we should start a movement. An entertainment revolution. Bring the happiness to our screens!

  3. Andy Latham

    I’d go with that! I’d wager that there are loads of people who would like it. The only reason we don’t get it is because dark, gritty first-person shooters are a low-risk investment.

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