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Carefree Children?

Calliope's picture

I chose the short posting by Kismet, Operation because I find it so relatable to the games that I would play as a child. Looking back to preschool, I remember playing house or doctor, and now, I can also think about how comical it was when we would just change roles in the middle of the game or break character just like the baby in the short posting. In my English Seminar, Changing Our Story, we performed skits for the class. In one skit, there were four children who were going to play a make believe game. However, they argued on who got to be who and changed their minds about which character they wanted to be. Similarly, in another skit, there were three children who pretended to Beyoncé, Joan of Arc, and a princess. These make believe games made up most of playing for many children, including me.

After reading Kid Stuff by Molly Knefel, I looked back at the short posting but through Knefel’s argument. In my opinion, her argument is: “But in order for childhood to be carefree, it would have to exist in an entirely separate world from the adult one, full as it is of cares, some more immediately consequential than others” (Knefel, Kid Stuff). Which leads me to my thinking that playing, and as Knefel says, “childhood is not carefree” (Knefel, Kid Stuff). As long as children have a connection to the adult world and adults, they will not really be able to have a carefree childhood.

This argument changes the lens by which I looked at play during my own childhood as well as the short posting and the skits in class. Looking through this argument, it makes me question if the play and fantasy games were really effortless. After reading this article, I look back at playing make believe games and I wonder how much they were impacted by the adult world and other problems. For example, going back to Operation, why do children mimic doctor’s appointments, pretend to be at school, or reenact other adult situations when they play?

Looking again at Kid Stuff, her topics shift to the underprivileged children and her teaching moments and interactions with them. She describes how, “They’re not carefree, but they sometimes laugh like they are” (Knefel, Kid Stuff). It doesn’t matter how carefree children are when they play, its when they play, how do they make the most of it. Children who have so much to worry about can still have fun and make the most of their play, it’s just harder. I really grasped her argument and her evidence when she wrote, “all kids have to worry about tests, but not all kids have to worry about poverty and policing” (Knefel, Kid Stuff). This was what made me actually stop looking at the skits we did in class, the playing that I did as a child, and the posting and begin to think of other kids, the ones that Knefel refers to as “at risk” kids. I can only imagine what kinds of thoughts go through their heads every day as they try to play and have fun. This point in the article was when I turned my argument and realized that it wasn’t meant for someone, such as myself. Looking back again to Knefel’s description of having the kids in her class write plays. I had a similar assignment in fifth grade. But my play was about friendship and playing with no worries. The plays in the article, for example, one where a girl chooses to study for her test all the time rather than have fun to “ensure her future success” (Knefel, Kid Stuff). I would never even be considering this during my childhood. A test designed to “hold other kids back, fire their teachers, and close their schools” (Knefel, Kid Stuff).

I don’t think that children will ever cease to have a relationship or connection to adults and therefore, will probably never have carefree play. However, I only consider that to be part of the problem. The underprivileged children that Knefel describes don’t seem to be getting all of their worries from the adults in their lives. They seem to be generating a few of these ideas on their own, for example the girl who wrote the play. It is just so important to realize that this problem goes beyond this article. There are children everywhere who struggle economically and are then shown as tragic children. I believe that that portrayal and stigma can be avoided if this problem as a whole of giving children anxiety and stress could be addressed.

Works Cited

Knefel, M. (2015, July 16). Kid Stuff. Retrieved September 23, 2016, from

Kismet, Operation. Retrieved September 23, 2016, from