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7.05.2021 Friday

“Wrocław Cultural Guide”: All grown-ups were once children

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Things are different now. Perhaps no longer as rash and nervous as it used to be last year, but I doubt we can find anybody who will admit that things are back to normal. This is particularly visible during holidays – we have had a different New Year’s Eve, a different Easter, and we are heading for a different Children’s Day.

The most prudent of parents will start looking for the perfect gift long before 1st of June – they know that the perfect super gift should stimulate their child’s imagination, because at this point it is common knowledge for all the parents that the most important thing their small children can do is to grow and develop. As a result, they keep spending weeks thinking about all the bells and whistles, increasingly resorting to the collective wisdom of the internet. In this entire process, they – obviously – never even think about consulting their children. Why would they? After all, the extent of the surprise is just as important as the surprise itself. And so, they keep looking for an idea, hoping that they will come across something absolutely amazing and be able to buy it…

Let’s stop for a moment here and try to remember what celebrating Children’s Day meant to us decades ago. To quote the author of The Little Prince, supposedly all grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it.

If I had to give you a couple of key terms related to my childhood out of the blue, I’d probably say “emotions that build sensitivity” and “inspiring creative space”. After many years, I am well-aware that these areas defined me as a person to the greatest extent. All while I cannot really remember any creative gifts that foster creativity and imagination – not to mention that these marketing claims always set off alarm bells in my head, because no child lacks creativity and imagination, they are usually fine in that regard – it is important how we understand these terms. Personally, I’m a firm believer in Mary Lou Cook’s idea that “creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” And that’s how – out of the blue – we came at a good recipe for a great surprise for a child that will surely be appreciated.

Is the 1st of June 2021 going to be special? Given the ongoing pandemic – I don’t think so. But given the circumstances, it might be the perfect time to reflect.

Katarzyna Bury
– psychologist, teacher and cultural animator. She runs large-format Tekturowo workshops at the Fama Library and Cultural Centre and Agora Cultural Centre, as well as Cardboard and Paper family workshops at Barbara. She works with teachers, librarians and students,
sharing her collections of picture books as part of Books to Look At community initiative. She is convinced that one can make anything out of paper and cardboard, and during her workshops she instils her passion for paper in children and adults alike.

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