On fostering memories and dreams

Children love this thing.

My son is undoubtedly like the rest of his cohort: brilliant, joyful, above average in every possible way, and a rabid fan of Thomas the Tank Engine, and of Dora the Explorer.

As a result of his near-obsessive preoccupation for all things Thomas, our toddler has accumulated a hoard of  locomotive toys, baubles, and gizmos. He most recently acquired a small, red-trimmed, powder blue backpack with his favorite smiling tank engine plastered across the back. He took some interest in it, but really had no idea what to do with his latest acquisition. Until this morning.

He decided he would go exploring, so I drew a map up with a black ballpoint pen on a sheet of folio paper. I then rolled it up into his backpack and let him discover the parchment. When he found it, his eyes lit up. He ran around the house waving his map in the air, his little feet thumping frenetically on the wooden floor to rush from mother to father and back again to show us his map. I had even taken the time to draw Dora’s little map character on the page, lest there be confusion as to the document’s purpose.

My boy then spent the next hour going from room to room, taking his back pack off, unzipping it, unfolding his map to check it, packing it up again, and heading off to his next destination.

With any luck, this small act will remain with him as a magical moment marking his childhood for the rest of his life.

I guess I’d better start saving up for when he decides to hike out to the Amazon and get some real exploring done.

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