A 7-Year Old I know Just Got Her First Cell Phone

A 7 year old I know just told me that she got her first cell phone. She’s proud and happy, but the reality of a 7 year old with a phone gives me pause. I find myself wondering what she will be doing on this phone. Who will she text or call? What games will she be playing? How much will this phone take her away from direct contact with her friends?

I walk with my dog around a pond in my town. Sometimes I see kids there. They used to be fishing in the pond, skipping rocks, or just walking around and talking with one another. Now, I see 3 boys, probably around 12, sitting on a bench. Each is looking at his phone. They are not talking. They are not skipping rocks. They are not even looking at the beautiful pond or noticing the blue heron standing in the shallows on the far end. My dog sees all these things, even the boys on their phone. But the boys are watching their screens. Continue reading “A 7-Year Old I know Just Got Her First Cell Phone”

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What constitutes a viable space for play?

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I have argued here that play emerges in a transitional space, a space between inner and outer, between me and not me, and between me and you. I have focused on play as an intersubjective phenomenon, but what about play that occurs when someone is alone? Continue reading “What constitutes a viable space for play?”

Is there such a thing as too much play?

The debate about how much play is enough  is one carried out in the popular press, where experts and non-experts alike weigh in. Writing for the New York Times Magazine, Melanie Thernstrom reflects on the question from a personal point of view when her daughter is invited to the home of a friend from preschool, whose father has made a project out of being a free range, non-helicopter parent. Continue reading “Is there such a thing as too much play?”

Two Winnicottian Podcasts

Two podcasts featuring Winnicott  offer listeners very different ways of thinking about human engagement with ideas, each other, the outside world and ourselves. Each asks Winnicottian questions about how an individual identity is constructed in relation to human and non-human objects and about how human thought and creativity emerges. Continue reading “Two Winnicottian Podcasts”

Lars and the Real Girl & Winnicott

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In the opening credits of Lars and the Real Girl, protagonist Lars Lindstrom (Ryan Gosling) is pictured looking out of the window of his garage apartment, warming himself with a blanket that we later learn was knitted for him by his mother when she was pregnant with him. In this close-up of his face, the blanket covers his mouth, so the only indication of his state of mind is the expression of his eyes. The feeling is somber, intensified by the apparent cold temperature. In the frosty window pane is the reflection of the dark and cloudy sky. The film opens with the shot of a lone man, one we will soon learn is terrifyingly lonely, and with a cold feeling, mediated only by the soft, handmade blanket. Continue reading “Lars and the Real Girl & Winnicott”

Mothers & Infants

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Image by Bob Whitehead

This beautiful family photograph, posted on Flickr by photographer Bob Whitehead, offers an idealized look at the mother/infant relationship. Composed such that the mother and infant comprise the entire field, the image emphasizes the importance, in our culture, of motherly love. The emotional bond between this mother/daughter pair is emblematized in the “eskimo kiss,” noses touching and in the open mouth smiles of both members of the dyad. Continue reading “Mothers & Infants”