Saturday, August 31, 2013

Kids Show Review; Justin Time a.k.a. Facing fears of the new and different

I think that all of us, adults and children, are scared of new and different things. When I'm scared I make poor decisions. So I'm always looking for new ways to face the fear of the unknown.


My kids watch this show, called, "Justin Time". It's about this kid named Justin. When he has a problem, he goes into an imaginary world to solve it. Usually this 'other world' is in another time, but sometimes just in another part of today's world. He explores different cultures and learns lessons about how to deal with issues. You can see clips of this show on YouTube, here's one:

Although there are several aspects of the show that don't make logical sense to me*, what does make sense about this show (and the reason I'm sharing it with all of you) is the method this show uses to teach kids. It's tied to fear, and safety.

Most people (kids) won't accept something new and scary unless it's presented in a way that's palatable. For this show, they make it palatable by having everything new introduced by his imaginary best friend, Olive. Foreign languages, new animals, new foods, new ways of doing things; all made less scary by Olive's accompaniment. She's the grown-up among the kids, the friendly ear when things get a little confusing, and she always has ideas on how to help. Mostly the role she plays is to be comfortable; he knows her, so he won't get scared about what he's seeing. He knows it's all going to be okay. For a kid she's kind of like a security blanket, or a caregiver.

Most of us don't have such guides in our lives who can bridge the gap between ourselves and the new and different "other". When faced with a person of a different culture, or a new way of doing things, we have to be our own guide. I think part of the allure of saying "I'm a grown-up" is that I get to make my own decisions. One challenge of being a grown-up is that I have to be my own security blanket.


*My kids are obsessed with this show right now, which means I'm seeing it most days, sometimes multiple times in one day. As a result I've started to come up with some wild theories for how the show could make 'sci-fi' sense as a way of entertaining myself through the shows. 

One of my theories that amuses me greatly is that Olive is actually an alien or a time traveler from the future, who has taken it upon herself to teach Justin the 'ways of the world'. To accomplish her goal, she sent Justin a key (a toy pot of clay, who comes alive, named Squidgy) who she uses as a tool to temporarily enter his mind and teach him lessons. These lessons take no real time because of her time traveler abilities.  


CM said...

dear janet,
hi and hope you are all well.
i'm an old dog and this one stumped me a little. i guess i just don't get it. i do some more tube surfing when i get a chance. i will, until then, assume that the 'gold' justin loves isn't real material possession stuff.

until then, i can only say that everyone is afraid of many things for many reasons. as our children grow, we will be faced with truer fears, like car surfing, driving while texting or drunk, or on the road with unknown drivers who are texting or drunk, their sense of self-worth, heartbreak...stuff like that.

My dear friend gave me the best advice ever, decades ago. she said, "if you are worrying about your kids, you haven't truly given them over to God." i feel the same way about all fear. it can replaced by faith. a wee bit of caution is also sensible.

Janet said...

Thanks for your thoughts! I understand 'not getting it'. The treasure-hunting clip above is from an episode that is not about treasure. It's about teaching him the idea that if he finds something that doesn't belong to him, he should try to return it to the rightful owner.

I agree that how we deal with fear changes as we age. We don't carry around our favorite stuffed animals (or if we do, we don't admit it).

Chris Chapman said...

Olive is the image of justins deceased older sister. Olive time (all of time)