Reading theory

Bubbles are fragile things

bubble-pin; image at resolve not to burst my kid’s bubble.

I’ve been noticing lately that kids are subjected to a lot of scolding.

The problem with scolding is that it can so easily be the cold bucket of water that douses the flames of creativity.

Here’s what I mean.

Kid: “Hey mom, flies spit stuff on their food that makes it dissolve!”
(This kid is excited, he’s sparkling, he’s on fire, beautiful bubbles are rising from his brain.)

Mom: “Wow, that’s cool!”
(The mom is kind of grossed out, but wants to share her kid’s excitement.)

She continues:
Mom: “Where did you learn that?

Kid: “This really cool comic book called Zombies And Things That Kill. It’s so cool—”

Mom: “Where did you get that comic book? You know you’re not allowed to have comics with violence in them!”


The mom just wants to be a good mom. She wants to uphold the rules she’s laid down for her family. She doesn’t mean to burst anyone’s bubble. But there it is.

The kid’s excitement is gone. Now he’s a “bad kid” because he broke a rule. Now, instead of going back to reading—or reading something else—reading has pretty much been ruined for him today. Hopefully only for today.

And the moment he was about to share with his mom, that fragile beautiful thing, has been ruined as well.

I scold, of course I do. We all scold from time to time. But from now on before I scold, or even get the urge to scold, I’m going to look for the bubble and make sure I’m not the one to burst it before it can even be enjoyed.

By the way, this bubble isn’t the “reading bubble.” That’s another beautiful bubble that we don’t want to shred. Apparently I’m a bit light on new metaphors. Read about the reading bubble here.

And while you’re at it, check out this thoughtful blog post on a similar subject, over at Storytiming.

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