I love seeing the world through a child’s eyes. Their perspective is so different from mine. They notice beauty in the most unlikely of places and see things I would never even notice. Every once in a while, I’ll place my camera in the small hands of one of my children so that they can capture images of the world as they see it. I want them to experience the altered perspective that happens when you are looking through a camera lens. I have found it to be comforting to focus my attention through that little viewfinder – using my artistic eye, my creative brain. Well, all of that, and when you are at a playdate in the park, thoroughly engaged in an exciting and meaningful conversation with someone brand new who doesn’t think you are bonkers for talking about homeschooling or self-identity or art spaces, handing them the camera just keeps them occupied for a while.
The pictures above were actually snapped by one of Jarl’s best friends (age ten) on a recent sunny Sunday afternoon. I was surprised to find pictures of Jarl on the camera at all when I went through the images from that day. He is turning into quite a little shutter bug – I hadn’t expected him to relinquish the camera. Instead of finding a collection of silly pictures of his friend, I found these telling pictures of him. I found it so interesting to get a glimpse of how his friend sees him.
Jarl does things, like handing over the camera to his friend, that surprise me all the time. He’s just such an old soul kind of kid – older than me in a lot of ways, I think. He has an awful lot figured out already. I’m still working on so much.
Jarl and I sat down this evening to catch-up. We do that sometimes, a check-in. I feel like these conversations are of special importance now, as our family identity is shifting and so many changes are happening in our lives. Jarl acts as my canary in our proverbial coal mine, sensing first when something is off in our tight little tribe. I trust his judgement, I always have. Tonight we curled up on my bed, I asked him a few questions and he answered in his old soul, little boy kind of way. The following is what transpired. Oh my, do I have a lot to process.
(Jarl’s words are used with permission, of course.)
How would you describe yourself?
Hmmm. I don’t know. I’m pretty smart and sometimes I talk too much. If there is something I want to get done I can usually do it pretty easily. I am responsible. Sometimes I’m not, like when I’m goofing off with my friends, but that’s not very much.
What are some of your favorite things?
I like reading a good book. I can read for hours to finish it, just stopping for snacks. I really like manga, otherwise known as graphic novels. I like eating good, tasty food. I like playing with my friends outside and building with my Legos. I like bugging you (silly grin) and snuggling with you too.
What are some things you don’t like?
Homework, except for reading. I don’t like rudeness, like when my sister spoils my jokes. I don’t like wars, they are interesting – the weapons and stuff, but I don’t like the actual wars. I dislike getting injuries.
What changes have you noticed in our family lately?
We changed around the bedrooms. I’m being allowed to get things I wouldn’t have been able to a year ago, like my hatchet. We are going outside more. You have been very absorbed in your blog.
What do you think about my blog?
Sometimes it bugs me because you can’t do much else. Other times I like it because you are so happy and you can talk to other people. It is a good way to share your thoughts and ideas and I like that you are feeling successful.
What do you think about the other changes in our house?
I’m still getting used to your room being my sister’s room. Sometimes I walk the wrong way. My room is a little different now because we reorganized it, but it isn’t too different. I like it. I don’t get to use the computer very much anymore.
You didn’t even mention that we got rid of the TV.
Oh, I’ve just gotten used to it. I don’t even really miss it anymore. Not whatsoever. I guess it was fun to watch, but books are much better. They can be longer than movies and the thing about books is that you need your eyes and your mind and your hands to enjoy them. All you do with TV is sit. With books, you sit too, but kids my age read stuff like Harry Potter and Hatchet, which are great books. Some of the best books aren’t movies, or they are made into terrible movies that ruin the story. The book is always better than the movie.
On a tangent, he continues…
I’m not becoming a man or a teenager, but I am getting bigger so I can have more responsibilities and I am able to be trusted more. The reason I think this is because you are letting me start fires in the fireplace and I’m getting to chop wood with my hatchet. It’s uncommon for kids to have a hatchet.
What are your dreams for your future?
I haven’t really decided on a whole lot. But, I’m thinking I might get into martial arts, that seems like a fun profession. One of the things that I want to happen is to be really rich. I doubt that would really happen, but it would be really nice.
Why do you want to be rich?
My parents and siblings wouldn’t have to work as much. I would definitely share it, even with my sisters, depending on how much money I have. Let’s see… If I was rich, like Bill Gates, I could collect a ton of cool ninja stuff – a whole room full.
What else would you do with all that money?
Buy good food.
What are your dreams for our family?
I hope my dad gets promoted and that he always likes his job. I hope that my sisters find something that they like to do. I imagine us in the future living out in the country, with some pets or livestock. Not for eating, just for things like eggs. I want us to live near each other or together when we are grown-up. Y’know, close.
Is there anything else that you want to tell me or the people that will read this?
Let me think… How about, re-read this interview and think about how you might answer the questions. Are your answers similar to mine? Follow your dreams, that’s a good thing to do. That’s all.
Oh, and one more thing… Ninjas are awesome!
Jarl is very excited to learn what you might say if you were to answer some of these questions for yourself. He would treasure any and all comments!