Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Return to Innocence


After overhearing my conversation with Priscilla, in which I was discouraging her from checking out an armful of Barbie and Polly Pocket paperbacks, our kindly librarian directed the both of us to a series of stories starring a trio of yellow haired, sweet and wholesome Swedish girls - three sisters named Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka. Originally published in the mid-1950's, the plot lines in this vintage set of books are simple, peaceful, and uncomplicated (Flicka, Ricka, Dicka Bake a Cake, Find a Dog, etc.). I am drawn in, fascinated by the colorful illustrations. It has been such a long time since I've seen little girls depicted as...well, little girls, as opposed to miniature sized women starring in rock bands, setting fashion trends, or treating parents, neighbors, and teachers as peers. Was there really a period in history when childhood was cherished, protected even, by a responsible and ethical society filtering images, ideas, and aggressive marketing techniques deemed "too mature" for that magical yet fleeting season of lightheartedness deserved by all young children, before the onset of puberty and the "enlightenment," passion and turmoil that accompanies it? Am I so naive to wish that pokey puppys and burnt baked goods were the only type of dilemmas our kids were exposed to - ones solvable without the aid of prescription medications, G-rated, age-appropriate, innocent?

5 comments:

H and S said...

I totally agree Molly. But how to do it? Somehow our girls seem to actually want to have the 'cool, grown-up' stuff rather than the innocent little girl stuff. I don't know why. I can say this, though - I'm totally over feeling guilty when the media accuses parents of 'sheltering' their children, or 'censoring' their children's movies, TV and books. I'm all for sheltering and censoring at this young tender age.

Kelleylynn said...

When asked why homeschool? One of my many responses: "To preserve their innocence"
We're going to the library today and I think I shall hunt for these books :) Thanks for sharing...

neil said...

Great post, Molly. The same goes for little boys, too. Childhood is such a gift and necessary for the health of the child and society.

I agree with the sheltering and censoring comment, as well. Madeleine L'Engle writes in Walking On Water about considering society's children when we make art for society as a whole. Wouldn't we all be better off — even us adults—with a little more innocence?

Laura said...

This post caught my attention, because I have been blessed with three sweet little girls. Childhood is a gift, and we should improve on this gift by providing a wholesome environment for them. I am going to look for these books too! The girls will love them!

Molly Sabourin said...

I don't know, Selena. My girls are already super fascinated by what is "cool" even without us getting television reception. I, too, agree that we shelter and censor as best we can and then pray - we stay as connected as possible with our children, and try not to panic. My mother likes to remind me that I was just like them as a kid!:)

I love that you brought up "Walking on Water", Neil. Shortly after I graduated from college, I CONSUMED that book. You have inspired me to pick it up again and see if it strikes me differently.

Kelleylynn, Laura,

Did you find those books at the library? I'm tempted to make color copies of the illustrations and frame them!