I have been in the company of a six-year-old this last weekend.
A six-year-old who likes to growl like a tiger in fun whenever she feels the need of it.
The six-year-old in question is my granddaughter Violet.
Now, all this is very interesting because this weekend she decided she was going to put on a Circus here at my home, while her mother was away and I realised that her life is almost exciting as the Life of Pi … only we could call hers: the Life of Vi.
You see, I suggested to Violet that she might like to play the part of the tiger in her circus, as she loves to growl and bare her teeth, but her Grandpa thought she might be better in the part of ‘Pi’ and train the tiger to do her bidding, as she is very good at trying to train her grandparents to do whatever she wants.
And so the planning of the Circus began to take shape.
From Saturday night onwards, plans were afoot, with the need for typing paper, a dark pen and my mobile phone number. It appears that Alice put dog-walking signs on posts last year with rip-off pieces on the bottom with a phone number to ring.
Alice actually did get a job dog-walking from this so Violet was most encouraged to replicate Alice’s success. Violet kept saying, in a voice of high excitement, that she could just imagine the money she would make from putting on this Circus. Her joy knew no bounds!
On Sunday morning as she toiled away at the bench near me in the kitchen, she was writing phone numbers on the tags at the bottom of the pages. However, she got tired and requested some help from me. I put her off as we were heading to soccer for Alice’s game so I escaped any involvement.
Home again she tried again to enlist my help. but I wasn’t feeling too helpful. We’d had a few misdemeanors at soccer that involved threats to remove lollies if she did not obey me. Finally, when obedience was NOT forthcoming, I had emptied the small bag of lollies I had given her, into a large puddle of muddy water that she insisted on playing in … such was my effort to teach her that I meant business.
Without the need for any words, this was a powerful moment friends, as I held the packet up and the half-dozen lollies went plonk, plonk, plonk into the puddle. She stood there aghast. However, she took it very well knowing she had run out of chances; her behaviour improved immensely thereafter! A lady sitting near us at soccer, told me later how impressed she was at how effectively this was handled. It WAS funny.
So now back at home we were friends again but Violet carried on writing up phone numbers on her own, growling every now and again in order to keep her tiger practice going (you know a bit like a singer practices). I was just thankful she hadn’t wanted to practice being a trapeze artist as yet.
Just when daylight was beginning to wane and dark was coming in, Violet finished her writing and declared she was walking down the road to pin her Circus posters on the lamp posts for people to rip off the numbers. She could almost hear the dollars rolling in, she said, as she walked out the door.
Well … she didn’t actually use those words, but that’s really what she meant. Trust me, I know these things.
I was concerned for her as it was getting dark so she allowed me to watch as she walked to a couple of lamp posts nearby to complete her advertising schedule. I didn’t have the heart to tell her not to bother, that it was all ‘pie in the sky’ really.
How do you tell a six-year-old to stop dreaming? To stop yearning for things that are impossible; for a life that sounds so exciting? Of having endless money to buy things for yourself?
Violet went off to school from here Monday morning … and then home with her mother in the afternoon. I saw the posters on the lamp-post the next morning as I drove down the road. There they were just sitting there … a promise of something wonderful about to happen for Violet. As I took one of the posters off the lamp-post near my house, I smiled to myself.
Don’t we tell our children to dream big dreams? Don’t we tell them they can do whatever they set their hearts on doing? Where is the fine line between ‘pie in the sky’ and allowing them to have their creativity? Violet is a highly creative little girl. She has no fear either. So I let her continue planning and dreaming. Kids need to dream folks.
I’m sure she has forgotten about the Circus by now. Such is her creativity that she has moved on to something else for sure.
I have received no phone calls from prospective customers of the Circus … not that I really expected any. Besides, could anyone read my phone number on the flyer? I laugh when I think that there may be a lot of people in the street still scratching their heads wondering about those flyers on the lamp-posts … flyers for an Imaginary Circus!
Oh the ‘Life of Vi’ would surely be as good as the ‘Life of Pi’? A very exciting one indeed …