Something very special happened when we designed a puppet experience for young people to explore personalities.
There were mermaids, aliens, robots and creatures that you just cannot classify! They were all brilliant but what was really entertaining to the audience were the characteristics given to their puppets. Here's a few:
" This is JJ, when he needs to draw he sits on paper with his pencil body and wiggles his bottom around"
"This is Marie - She likes working hard and saved $200. she also loves baking muffins"
" This is Captain Collector - He is a good cook. He loves putting himself back together. He's very helpful to fellow robots"
A child psychologist may try to interpret these but for us the evidence is plain and simple. Kids have a beautiful imagination and are inherently caring and thoughtful. They just want to be recognised as individuals and be able to share their passions and interest with you. Children will use their imagination to get you to listen, care, stand up for them, play with them. In some situations this imagination can manifest itself as 'endearing behaviour', sometimes we may interpret is as 'disruptive behaviour' . Guess what? Your interpretation is your problem. Their intentions were the same!
Lets go back to JJ. The creator behind JJ's character is a young girl that moves and fidgets when she draws. When she is lost in her thoughts her movements get more and more active. She is very lucky to have parents that recognise her unique characteristics and love her for it. But what if you didn't know JJ's creator. Would you think she needed the toilet or needed to practice sitting still?
Take Captain Collector's comments. The boy whom created the captain is telling you he is a good cook. He's telling you he's good at fixing things and if you let him, he'll fix you!! I really don't want you to over analyse this because for the children the whole intention was to have lots of fun. What I would like you to do is listen carefully to your children next time they tell you something through play. You'll be amazed at the gems they are giving you to help you be the best parent and friend they could have.
I'll leave you with one more character from a young girl at last night's show. You make of it what you will!
"This is Bedtime Bob - He's stubborn and doesn't like going to bed. His favourite colour is pink and he has a soft spot for Teddys!"