A local grandmother told me a story recently about how she was watching the news with her husband when her grandson came in and started to make noise. In a bid to get him to quieten down so that she could hear, she asked him what he thought of the current, ahem, incumbents. “The Government have no Plan B, Nana,” he said. He’s five.
What’s happening in the world filters down to our children, even if they never watch a news bulletin and the extent of their economic knowledge only stretches as far as their piggy banks and whether they have enough euros in it to buy their latest heart’s desire.
But, while there’s probably no harm in them becoming somewhat worldly aware, it’s sometimes nice to stall for a while in their youth and entertain them in the fantasy land of their imaginations, where cloud men exist and a rabbit can live in an unattended pocket.
What makes events such as the Baboró International Arts Festival for Children, which runs in the city next month, so special is that it fires up children’s imaginations with a feast of events that meet them at their own level.
Baboró Patron Michael D Higgins puts it best when he says it “contributes to nurturing the marvellous, unique potential there is in each child, to cultivate their sense of wonder at the world, and to foster their remarkable ability to question conventional wisdom.”
This year the programme features the critically acclaimed ‘Human Child’ inspired by WB Yeats’ ‘The Stolen Child’, ‘Me, Mollster, which tells the story of a strong-willed young Dubliner coping with consumption during the 1913 Lockout and Easter Rising of 1916, ‘Lifeboat’, which tells the extraordinary true story of two girls who survived their ship being torpedoed during World War II, going on to become firm friends for life, ‘Paperbelle’, which sees a world of black and white transformed into spectacular colour, ‘Cloud Man’, which sees cloud expert Cloudia go in search of the Cloud Man, and ‘C’est dans la Poche’, which follows Louise as her life suddenly becomes magical because of what she discovers in her pocket.
This year’s programme also features performances specifically for parents or teachers who may have concerns about bringing children to a public event.
The full programme is available on line at www.baboro.ie and tickets are selling fast. Even if you only get to one thing, you will be fuelling your child’s imagination.