It's the inevitable question, anytime I take my boys to the park. "Daddy, can I bring this stick home? It's the perfect sword (or gun or fireball shooter or the deadliest combo of all, a sword-gun-fireball shooter cannon)!"
And, inevitably, my answer is "No. Sticks belong in the park." This answer is received with various combinations of whining, pouting and pleading, until the advanced weaponry disguised as a lowly stick is slowly and dramatically dropped to the ground where it will hopefully not be discovered by a villain with bad intentions.
And then one day, I thought "why not let them bring the stick home?" The thought struck me with the force similar to what I imagine Einstein felt with the whole relativity thing. So, I walked through what the process would look like:
1. Boy asks to take stick home
2. Dad inconceivably says "Yes"
3. Boy weeps with joy at the thought of his newfound sidekick and the adventures they'll share
4. Dad puts stick in trunk of minivan
5. Dad puts stick in garage / yard / shed
6. Boy plays with stick 1-2 more times until a more advanced fireball-shooter cannon disguised as a stick is discovered
7. Dad solemnly places old stick in the yard debris can, with the sound of "Taps" playing in the distance
As this process rolled through my head, I had two primary thoughts: 1. What's the harm in letting him bring a stick home? 2. In his world, the stick is actually an advanced weapon with which he can fight bad guys and save the world.
After my revelation, I thought, how can I not let him bring the stick home? Heck, he can bring 10 sticks home if it means he'll spend more time in that fantastically fertile world of his little boy brain.
I hopped on board this train of thought and rode it a little ways until I realized that this approach can be expanded. Oftentimes, I will shoot down an idea from my boy(s) because it seems silly, pointless, illogical, etc. And that's the whole point. Of course, it seems that way to me. I'm all grown up and their ideas are not. What if I asked myself more often "what's the harm?" and considered their perspective of adventure, exploration and just being little boys. I don't want them to have logical, clear plans! In fact, I wish I had more crazy, illogical, silly and FUN plans. I very quickly went from "No sticks!" to "Gather yer weapons, men and get to the fort 'cause the bad guys are coming!"
Immersing ourselves in the world of our children gives us a healthy perspective and lets our kids see that we're not always sticks in the mud. We too, can handle a fireball-shooter-cannon.