Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Any good career counselors out there for a 7 year old?

We love movies at the Braun house.  As "free TV" people (i.e., no cable, no dish, etc.) we are inclined to rent flicks on a pretty regular basis.  In the past, Netflix was our go to and the reservations were mostly for movies that my wife and I wanted to see.  We had a sizable stash of kid's movies that we'd purchased and we'd just work them through a rotation.  That's changed of late as we've been renting films for the kids as well.  Either way, my kids love movies.  Of course we have to work hard on getting them to watch films with humans in them.  Animation is where it's at apparently...

So many of our kids on the spectrum live vicariously through film.  But when I really think about it, who doesn't?  I don't know about you but I wanted to be Rocky Balboa back in the early 80's.  Adrian!   I connect some of my favorite songs with movies too.  I may be warped, though, given my formative years were in the hayday of music videos aka MTV, VH1, etc.  I digress.  Our kids can be good at taking a love of movies even further.  We've probably all encountered (or have a child for that matter) that utilizes film and TV as their voice.  Often, they use movies and TV quotes to make a point.  That doesn't seem like a big deal until my son would say to me "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn."  OK, that didn't happen, but it could have.

This intense focus on movies and utilizing them as their voice can be taken too far.  Right now I can hear myself saying "Mitchell, it's time to stop talking about the movie and eat your dinner." or "Mitchell, are you talking about a character in a move?". 

My son often extends the movie character he's most recently smitten with to his career aspirations (which is where the title in this entry comes from).  If I had a nickle for every time I heard "I wish I could be a [insert movie character]." I'd be a rich man.  I guess I should be proud that he's thinking about what he should be when he grows up.  Heck, I didn't get around to that until I was well into college.  His career goal can get a bit goofy at times though when he says things like "I wish I could be a race car" or "I wish I could be a space monster". 

But, most often he is spot on when he uses movies to drive his career goals.  He is a huge project maker and recently built a rocket out of paper cups and duct paper (see photo).  Watch out NASA.  That led to several comments about wishing he could be an astronaut.  He saw a magician on a show and is now trying to make salt shakers disappear.  A trip to the Circus Museum in Baraboo this summer led to a strong focus on juggling (just 2 bean bags so far).  Luckily, he's expressed no interest in being a clown.  I hate clowns. 

Movies and TV enrich his life.  Granted, it needs to be in the right amounts and at the right times, but it really does help him relate to the world.  We use it to our advantage too.  What we need to continue to focus on is strengthening his interest and ability in tieing others into his interest.  I often whisper in his ear, "why don't you ask Jimmy what his favorite movie is?"  We need to continue to help him connect that passion and interest with those around him.  Then we'll all be on the right track.

1 comment:

  1. Great writing Paul. Thanks for sharing. Once I saw Rocky I've never gone back on my daily glass of raw eggs....best...

    Paul R.