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Postmodern Children And 'In The Beginning'

February 05, 1989

Jack Miles' caution reminds me of a grandmother I watched one afternoon at the beach. Her granddaughter was playing tag with the foamy water, running back and forth between the waves and the old woman, letting the foam tickle her ankles, then giggling wildly as she ran back to her grandmother's arms. After the child tired of the game and was standing on the edge of the sea wiggling her toes in the cold water, the old woman called, "Be careful! Don't get too close to the water!" I thought to myself, could the grandmother be aware of what she was teaching this child? Here, in a perfectly safe, joyous atmosphere where the child was positively bubbling with natural ecstasy, the message sent by the adult authority is, "Beware. There's hidden danger here." What an awful weight to impose on the young girl's bliss! If reinforced often enough, this message will kill the child's natural joy in life, and she will end up alienated from her creative roots, struggling to survive in a dead, unresponsive world.

RUSSELL S. READ

HUNTINGTON BEACH

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