FTLComm - Tisdale - February 9, 2000
By : Timothy W. Shire

This seems to be the week of childhood awareness on television. The Monday night episode of the comedy/drama Ali McBeal gave us producer David Kelly's view of life as seen through the eyes of children. It was a remarkable piece of work on commercial television because so seldom does a creative writer get a chance to take the audience with him into a subject that is both real and fantasy all at the same time. If you missed the episode I will try to recap for you.

One of the members of the law firm has just broken up with her fellow lawyer husband and left the firm. The Monday night episode revolved around her suit brought against the firm for its contribution to breaking up her marriage. Though this seems like a silly plot line it gave the writer and cast an opportunity to consider just what are they doing each day as they go to work and seriously try to make a living. Throughout the episode Kelly would switch the adult performers with representative children for each of them. The images and situation was more then touching as we had the chance as the audience to consider if this is what we had in mind when we were little kids and is this the way things were suppose to turn out.

Tonight on CBC's fifth estate there is an interview with the Winnipeg twin, David Reimer, who as a baby was accidentally modified in a botched circumcision procedure and the parents accepted the advise of psychologist and the baby was changed from a boy to a girl with tragic results. The issue of course is what happens to us as children really matters

Of the things going on in any community it would take little arguing to make the point that the most important activity in progress is the making of good and successful lives. That is what rearing and allowing our children the opportunity to develop to their fullest in out midst. No other activity is as important and yet we often devalue the process when we consider it within our own experience. As a society we really need to think about what we are doing with our children when we expose them to endless hours of television and then overwhelm them with adult involvement when they need to be so much in charge of what they are becoming.

I am extremely proud of my childhood experiences, few people growing up today have the chances and adventures I had as I lived in a tiny village where my friends and I shared our lives with eighty other soles, younger and much much older who talked with us, let us dream, play and develop creatively, artistically, emotionally and spiritually. Not only was I blessed with outstanding parents but I also had my friends outstanding parents and all of them shared in my upbringing and development. Every opportunity you have to chat with a kid is not only going to enrich your life but will add considerably to that child's experience. Using language, testing attitudes, measuring opinion all of those elements can be a bundle of data for the developing child.

Each day we get up and put on our adult faces many of us know full well that the adult face is just a mask that hides within us the nine or ten year old who still wishes that he still believed in Santa. For those of you who enjoy David Letterman it is this middle aged man's childishness that makes him so popular. The boy who's mother often joins him on his big time television show and the boy who will stick anything in his mouth and shamelessly tease everyone around him as his kid's curiousity makes each day for him a wonder and joy to others. Not such a bad way to live.