Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Kids, adults, and repetition

I was thinking about kids and repetition earlier because, well, with three small kids around all the time I can't help it. Anyone who has been around small children knows about repetition. Reading their favorite book or watching their favorite show the nth time in fewer days because that's what the child wants, and you read about how it's important for kids' development to be able to predict what happens and familiarity is good for emotional health. Yadda yadda yadda, it's not really consoling when you're reciting The Cat in the Hat instead of reading it, but it's what parents do.
Because, after all, adults don't need repetition. We need novelty, don't we? New things, people, places, activities. That's why we have video rentals, the Internet, news tickers, new TV shows every season, a dismay of reruns over the summer. More novelty, more newer faster. Right?
But wait. We still buy things like DVDs of entire seasons of TV shows, or CDs from our favorite musicians. And when we do have a favorite, don't we listen to it over and over? We sing along with our favorite songs, don't we? We watch favorite episodes again and again. Why? Do adults need repetition too?
Are some children's books, stories, and movies less annoying than others? Why?
Is it because they still speak to us, even the dozenth time in a week? Even as we're reciting, are we admiring the rhyme scheme and details in the illustrations? There's a reason fairy tales have been told and retold for centuries, a reason people still read and analyze Plato, Shakespeare, Aristotle, the Bible. There's a wealth of thought there that one perusal doesn't reach.
But we're told in our culture that we need more-newer-faster. Out with the old, in with the new. It rubs off on our children and primes them for the consumerist mindset, neglecting the rich history from which we've come.
I think people of all ages do need the repetition of good stuff. It's just easier to find the "good stuff" in the old where you know it's survived the test of time (centuries or decades), instead of trying to filter out the bad in what's new.