Art Linkletter, 96, is a pioneer of talk radio who crossed over into television in the 1950's. He hosted a little show called House Party where in one segment he use to interview young children. This segment of his show was so popular that it was reproduced for television in 1998. The message Art Linkletter's timeless work offers is something we, as adults, must not forget when raising or working with children in these modern times.
The more recent 1998 reproduction of the show that you may have heard of was hosted by comedian Bill Cosby and called, "Kids Say the Darndest Things!" If you have never seen the show, it featured Bill Cosby asking children some very basic, easy-to-answer, but loaded questions. The show gave adult viewers an insight into the creative and sometimes wildly imaginative minds of children. The entertainment unfolded as childhood innocence was blended with the viewers' anticipation for the unexpected. Like today's reality television, people tuned in weekly just to hear what outrageous things children would say next.
It is now been over ten years since the last airing of "Kids Say the Darndest Things!" However, the same entertaining responses and animated faces that children gave to Bill Cosby in 1998 and Art Linkletter starting back in the 1950's haven't gone away. As a youth coach, I am here to tell you that these types of child responses can still be heard today. If you know how to find them.
Historically, conversation like those watched on "Kids Say the Darndest Things!" have been just thought of as a natural part of family life. Today's high-tech families must work harder to make these types of conversations important again. Unfortunately, there are many substitutes for face-to-face conversations and even more distractions to overcome when thinking about creating time for these conversations.
Moms and Dads heed these suggestions as you enter the busy summer months. Create family time by making new opportunities that include shutting off the television, unplugging the video games, turning off the computer and powering down the cell phones, and opening up the calendar to find time spent as a family. Create a weekly routine around the idea of finding entertainment in enjoying one another's company and conversation. If you have not done it before with your family, you must be creative and be prepared for resistance. A sustained effort will be necessary.
For all parents, this is a time to engage your children. Ask children loaded questions, and then listen. You, like Linkletter and Cosby, can learn a lot about your kids and even find them sometimes saying the darndest things!
See you in class!