Monday, 13 August 2018

NOSTALGIA 5

We're in Germany at the moment, and had a lovely day out the other day at the Lochmuehle.

 It's an activity park for little children, with animals to pet, and old-fashioned rides like carousels and giant slides with mats to make one whizz down at triple-speed.   It struck me just how much of what we do with our children is explicitly nostalgic.  On reflection, I also have to admit that I choose to dress my younger son in quite obviously nostalgic clothes (my older son has always been so obsessed with dressing up as other characters that I rarely have a choice as to what he wears!)  On the face of it, it's really strange to nostalgically and deliberately associate childhood with the past - after all, the children of today represent the future.


Why do we so often approach bringing up children with such a strong sense of nostalgia?  I don't know the answer, and I'm not going to change the kinds of things I do with my kids - I love carousels, and traditional lemonade, home-made cakes, and old-fashioned rompers and dungarees.

I think it may lie partly in the desire to relive our own childhoods - we're tempted back into our own eras of innocence and trust.  And I wonder whether it also connects to our sense that childhood should be about stability, and that traditional and old-fashioned things are somehow timeless.  We tend to associate the modern with fashion, changeability, and the transient.  Indeed, clothes with a more 'vintage' feel are often described as being of 'timeless appeal'.  Is there then a sense that we're endowing our kids with a childhood that transcends time?  Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but it is striking that this repudiation of the modern is particularly associated with our attitudes to small children.

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