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Archive for the ‘school kids’ Category

This is a lovely piece by my friend, Monica Dux in The Age

When the sad day arrived my daughter and a friend she’d invited over disappeared into her bedroom, emerging an hour later dressed entirely in black, their outfits expertly cobbled from the dress-ups box, including black gloves and hankies, which they clutched, both their faces tear-streaked from weeping.

The two little mourners set up chairs on the lawn, with Johnny’s open coffin in the middle, and Lily and Sara in their enclosure, perched on the side. My son and his mate watched from the garage roof, not quite part of the proceedings, yet affected by the mood. “My grandmother died recently,” offered my son’s friend, solemnly.

When my daughter asked if anyone wanted to say a few words, her friend gently touched her arm. “It’s only right that you do it,” she said.  My daughter’s eulogy was short. “Here lies Johnny. He lived a short life, but it was a good life. He lives on through his children. Maybe.”  Then my daughter pressed a button on the iPod that she had hidden under her dress, and suddenly there was music. Kate Bush, singing The Man With The Child In His Eyes.

And so Johnny was laid to rest, under the crab-apple tree. The girls lingered over his grave for a time, remembering.  Then it was done. Johnny, the man with the child in his eyes, was gone. Ham and cheese sandwiches were served on the lawn.

Johnny was just an insect, of course, yet I don’t doubt that my daughter’s grief was real.

 

 

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truth

From Hurrah for Gin.

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This is a timely reminder that I could do work/school mornings better…

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From film critic, Matt Zoller Seitz in Roger Ebert.

We watched “Aliens” anyway. It went over well. The biggest challenge was dissuading kids from trying to predict every single thing that was going to happen. This is a generation of talkers. They have to comment on everything. No thought can go unexpressed. Maybe this was true when I was a kid as well (I honestly don’t remember), but rather than endlessly correct them I decided to just roll with it, exercising my slumber party guardian veto power during scenes that I felt pretty sure would enthrall them if they would just shut up for five minutes (I was rarely proved wrong in my guesses). But it was a sharp crowd, and for the most part the movie went over quite well, for an analog-era science fiction spectacular that’s turning 30 next year.

One boy said that Ripley in her hyper sleep chamber looked like Sleeping Beauty. As this was an intentional reference on writer-director James Cameron’s part (there’s a Snow White reference an hour later) this seemed like a promising note on which to begin the screening.  “I like the way this looks,” one said. “It’s futuristic but it’s old school. It’s almost steampunk.” “This is like Team Fortress 2,” another remarked. “Dude, shut up, this was made like 20 years before Team Fortress 2,” said the kid next to him. “This is, like, every science fiction movie ever made,” another said, as Ripley operated the power loader for the first time.

“This movie has so many cliches in it,” a boy said when Colonial Marines disembarked the drop ship and made their way through rainy darkness to enter the alien-infested colony. My son told him, “This movie was made in 1986. It invented all the cliches.” Another of his friends was impressed by the “personal data transmitters” implanted in the colonists—impressed that someone had thought of that back in 1986.

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“Holy fuck. Our children!”

– Text message from another parent witnessing the disorganisation of her kid and mine in getting themselves to high school.

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Though she’s still a couple of years off being a teenager, increasingly I see flashes of the future in my daughter, Lauca. The colicky baby and incredibly challenging child are still there though.

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And Cormac has always been half-teenage boy, though he’s currently seven years old.

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Of course there are buckets of mindless, consequence-free violence available to our children, in the form of video games where the only real goal is to do as much shooting, punching or murdering as possible. If slaughter is not for you, you might like to build walls in Minecraft, or collect benign, animated creatures in Pokemon Go. But what about play that provides a sophisticated metaphor for the real world, in all its complicated harshness?

I watch my son, and now also my daughter, playing D&D with their dad. My daughter, AKA Sarah Grindbone, nearly loses her life. My son, AKA Sword Slasher, has to decide whether to risk his own life to save her. It’s agonising, because this isn’t like video games, where you instantly “respawn” if you die, without weight or consequence. In D&D, if you die, you die.

It’s a game that’s set in a dark, scary place. It’s not peaceful or cute, but it is creative. It takes teamwork, imagination, and concentration. It’s a place of nuance. And yes, there are devils lurking. A lot like real life.

A lovely, layered article by my friend, Monica Dux in The Age, “Stranger Things lures a new generation into a nuanced world of Dungeons and Dragons”.

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