You know what children are obsessed with? Dinosaurs. You know what else? Love. Funny thing, we’re giving them more tools to understand one than the other, and sadly, it’s the one that hasn’t existed since the prehistoric ages.
As we grow up and begin to ask questions, we start to learn about love. We understand what it is, we have an idea of what it looks like, and we grow to long for it. Though, by the time we’re actually confronted with love, falling in love, being in love, unrequited love, and so on, it turns out we actually don’t know a damn thing.
Dinosaurs: as kids we see pictures and movies and get an idea of what they looked like. We see fossils and bones and we’re given the tools to understand exactly what they are. We learn what their names are and what qualities they possess. We discuss them with one another, we select our favorite ones, we write stories about them, we give them voices and human qualities, and we seek to know these long extinct creatures to the best of our abilities. We know so much about something that we’ve never come into contact with. Here’s the thing, we know what dinosaurs are all about, but if we were actually approached by one, that story would not end with you riding a Triceratops into the sunset (probably).
So, where am I going with all this dino talk? Good question.
The point I am trying to make is that throughout our young lives we are given an intro to love. We see love as holding hands, kissing, getting married, taking adorable pictures together, and more kissing. No wonder kids are so obsessed with love and dinosaurs, they’re painted to be straight positives. Let’s be real, they’re both wondrous, powerful, exciting creatures, but they’re also both vicious, unpredictable, wild, and dangerous.
We are never told that love isn’t always returned or that people fall out of love. We have no idea that there are different types of love, and that everyone shows love differently. We understand love as an object to achieve, something to find and attain for as long as possible.
Love is not a just a word. Love has millions of different faces, some good, some bad. It’s risky, scary, unfamiliar, and unlike nothing else.
Why are we conditioned to be so naive about the whole thing?
Because the ones who teach us were naive as well. Since love is presented to us as a specific thing, that’s what we assume it’s going to be. Little kids go around asking people if they’re married if they’re in love, and where their husbands or wives are. It’s not just fairy tales and media that are giving kids the obsession with love (something they hardly understand), it’s us too! We’re constantly hiding the negative sides of love, and as a result, people are diving in blindly. We’re so afraid to be vulnerable, or show any signs of weakness.
On top of our acting, we’re also going around asking children if they have boyfriends or girlfriends. Firstly, in doing this, we’re projecting hetero-normativity on them at an incredibly young age, and secondly, we’re showing them through our reactions that the correct answer to this question is “yes,” giving them a need for love/romance before the even hitting puberty. Children (and humans in general) are in love with love, this we know for sure, but we mustn’t jump on the bandwagon along with the media and pop culture and teach them that it’s a necessity or a measure of self-worth.
Love and dinosaurs are two pretty incredible things, and there’s no wonder why the fascinate children to no end.
So, next time a child asks you “what’s the dinosaur called that flies?” and you respond “pterodactyl” without thought, think of how you would have answered if they asked, “why aren’t you married?” (for example)
It’s important that we prepare ourselves to answer these young, inquisitive individuals as to not further affirm the close-minded, dated views that are spewing out through fairy tales. Instead of laughing or saying you just haven’t found that special someone or your partner just hasn’t asked yet, maybe ask them why they’re asking that question to begin with. Let them know that marriage is a choice, and it isn’t right for everyone.
Let’s do this together people, love, and dinosaurs. Teach, learn, listen, speak, and discuss your current aromatic situation and those of others with no hierarchy and as much information as is requested.