One of the last birthday parties my daughter attended before the pandemic was a Paw Patrol theme.
And because it was a Mexican birthday party, it included a massive table filled with Paw Patrol-themed candy and toys, a Paw Patrol piñata, a blue Paw Patrol cake, and a visit from Ryder and the pups. (To be clear: it was a group of men in costumes who danced remarkably well despite the jungle heat and gigantic paws.)
My daughter hasn’t stopped talking about it since.
What You Resist, Persists
I resisted my daughter’s desire to watch this popular show for a long time. Until quite recently, I could easily direct her limited screen time toward gentle, sweet shows that she adored. But socialization is a powerful force, almost as strong as a child who has picked up on her parents’ resistance to something she wants.
It comes as no surprise to anyone that Paw Patrol is now her favorite show.
Be There on the Double
While I still don’t love Paw Patrol the way I love Pocoyo or Pablo, I think I understand why the kids do.
Paw patrol is a group of dogs who rescue people. But they’re not just dogs, they’re puppies — young dogs with children’s voices. And though their town is filled with seemingly capable adults, the pups are constantly called upon to save the day.
In fact, the adults on Paw Patrol are helpless, completely focused on the wrong thing. Especially those in charge. The only thing Mayor Goodway obsesses about more than her own image is her pet chicken. Mayor Humdinger is constantly plotting evil. (I am starting to believe that the children already know how bad things are.)
But imagine if you had this viewpoint — that the ones at the helm are constantly screwing up — but you also had the tools to save us from ourselves.
Kids are so much fun to play with because they haven’t yet swallowed the misbelief that they have no power. Yet adults are constantly dropping hints to the game we’ve come to believe is true — we place their cups in unreachable cupboards, tell them exactly how many popsicles they can have, and hide the loud and obnoxious toys they love.
Fantasy for kids does the same thing it does for us — it confirms who we really are. On Paw Patrol, the pups who fly planes, drive boats, and build anything they want uphold the belief that the kids watching have — that they are actually quite capable, if only the world was built for their little paws.
No Pup Is Too Small
We would all benefit if more kids held on to that sense of personal power they come in with — that “of course I can” attitude. But children are born into an adult’s world. For better or worse, we’re making the rules, along with a whole lot of messes that they will have to clean up.
Which is why I’ve dropped the comments about Paw Patrol. I can’t give my daughter a helicopter she can fly, but I can let her escape for 22 minutes into a world that tells us what we all know to be true — the adults really, really need her help.
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