We have gone back and forth on how and when to introduce the incredibly complicated world of moving images to our kids. Given that it is a world I grew up in and now have as my vocation, it is hard to hold back on diving in aggressively.
Mom and Dad decided Luke is ready to see Star Wars IV (The first one in our books) and we even got excited about the possibility of finding a screening at a real live movie house.
Then I started to think more and more about it.
Over the last few months Luke has has more specific and increasingly fascinating questions about how movies are made and what constitutes a real life movie vs. an animated movie vs. a documentary? It dawned on me that his mind can barely differentiate between these concepts. That it is really hard to understand the differences between a documentary and a movie where people are pretending to be something or do something. Even animation is still a bit confusing to his young mind.
Then I started to think about how when the first moving images were projected back in 1896, just one shot of a train barrelling down the tracks, patrons ran from the movie house unable to comprehend what they were seeing. Even if this is fabrication of what really happened (no one knows), it still belies the power of the moving image on the human brain.
We opted to fall back and watch some of the Sound of Music instead. (laptop, home, part one only) listening to the questions during the show only confirmed what I was thinking, you need to work up to something like Star Wars, no matter who you are.
Q: Are there going to be more people? (after seeing Julie Andrews alone in the field in the beginning.
Q: Will there be more songs? (after the first song ended).
Q: What’s happening? (could be said at almost any conceivable moment)
I became intrigued on what is the best path to take on this visual journey and found a comforting post from a Waldorf teacher and parent on just this subject. What I love was that her methodology was to start at the beginning, silent films and work slowly through the decades following the major changes in cinema, Sound, Color, Faster editing, etc.
It all made a little more sense after that and I realized it is really a matter of just relaxing. Yes, Luke wants to DO everything NOW, wants to SEE everything NOW, wants to LEARN everything now, but it is our job as parents to figure out the least troubling manner to approach all this.
So, for now I am sticking with the Marx Bros.
I have heard on good authority that there is a medical reason why kids up to a certain age do not feel that awful, sickly, nausea when doing this:
God sure works in mysterious ways.