Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The what if game

Aiden is a big fan of the "What if" game. He asks, "What if?" constantly.  Sometimes, it's fun. Other days, it's enough to cause a headache.  You can see why, if you read the list below (and this number and variety is pretty typical of this game).

What if I graduated from 1st grade today?
What if rotten meat could be turned into not rotten meat?
What if I died?
What if my hair turned into leaves?
What if the trees are talking to me?
What if I had no friends?
What if I didn't have an older brother?
What if the Hulk was real?
What if I turned into the Hulk?
What if I could breathe underwater?
What if Gavin was a sister?
What if we lived at the beach?

On one hand, I worry that he's worrying about things that aren't great for him, but he's also imagining other possibilities and ways of being.  He can make my husband and crazy with some of the questions (What if the sky was green? What if cars had hands?  What if dogs were cats?).He does, occasionally, make me think long and hard about things when he plays this game.  What if there was no school? How would children learn?  What if we found a better way to make electricity that didn't pollute?  What if everybody helped the poor? What if war never happened again?  What if everybody took care of everybody else?

The "What if" game can be useful as a tool to examine our world and and ourselves.  Its a great, childlike way to imagine new possibilities, but remember not to let the naughty "whattifs" (check out Shel Silverstien's poetry for that)stay and make you unhappy.

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