We can all agree that the peak of creativity is in childhood. This creativity allows us to look at things and experience moments in a different way. It’s interesting to think that our memories sort of distort the moment. We are biased, but everything we’ve ever learned, including our morals, has been because of experience. Different people can all experience one moment and have a different memory of it.
When I was much younger, from about the ages of four to six, my parents would take my sibling and me to Disneyland. Every week. We had passes and my parents were determined to take advantage of them. I shared some of my best memories with my family at this time. Eating at the Disney Princess restaurant, fighting over ice cream at Pixar Pier, being scared of the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, and going on Space Mountain three times in one day. I had so much fun.
In They Called Us Enemy, George doesn’t experience the same nightmare that his parents did. George’s parents witnessed their rights and freedoms diminish while George lived through a whimsical adventure with his brother. His mother and father did their best to make the most of their situation, giving George, Henry, and Nancy the most ‘normal’ childhood possible. George experienced a time of internment through the eyes of a child. It wasn’t until later that he would learn just how serious the time of his childhood was.
Many understand that children experience things differently from adults. Isamu Noguchi is one of the few that wished to foster that creativity. Children should not be told how to play. Traditional playgrounds have instructions. Swings, slides, stairs, a seesaw. One repetitive action for all to do. For years, Noguchi had proposed an abstract playground called Play Mountain, where children could truly experience their own play. Play through the eyes of a kid, not an adult.
It wasn’t until two years ago when I went to Disneyland with just my brother that I realized how much work it was. Though just three years younger than me, I had to carry everything for my brother. The water bottles, the snacks, the portable chargers, the phone cords, the jackets, the money, our phones, our hats, the tickets. On top of that, I had to consider bathroom breaks, how long the lines were, the location of the rides, the meals, and even if we were too tired to do anything. This is what my parents had to deal with. Except they dealt with a six-year-old and a toddler that both had little patience, a short attention span, and a very low tolerance for heat.
Now that I’m a bit older, I understand that no one experiences the same moment and that creativity is healthy. We regard creativity and imagination as something strictly for children. To encourage creativity is to encourage independence. To look at something unfamiliar or unconventional and understand that others see it differently.