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Lessons from a Preschooler by Dr. Allan Hunter

I ’ve noticed that the concept of a toy is a very broad one – and one that can tell us a few things if we are alert. Little Zoe (4) has always chosen her toys based on her imagination. Yes, the cardboard box is often more enthralling than what’s in it, and that’s always been true for her. But better yet is the way she doesn’t buy into the idea of what is “special”. The cherished antique teddy bear from my mother is not more important to her than any other toy. In fact she’s just as likely to hug and cherish a rolled up sock or the plastic number 7, and she will sometimes insist on taking to bed with her such things as a toothbrush – having developed a lively imaginary rapport with it during the course of the day.

The toys she returns to get hugged, dropped, thrown, and need frequently to be dusted off, washed and repaired. They get trodden on, forgotten, remembered, and generally have a hard life. Like parents, they have to undergo all kinds of indignities, but their job is to simply to endure; ours is to recognize that all of it, every bit, is part of the messy business of love.

We’re not here to look pretty, like dolls, nor to sit safe on a higher shelf. We’re here to be in the rough and tumble, get messy, and know that this is love.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

DR. ALLAN HUNTER is professor emeritus of Literature at Curry College. He is the author of 12 books, a counselor, and an explorer of the deep truths conveyed by storytelling. www.allanhunter.net