PAN just came out in theaters this past weekend!
And so, because people are probably googling about it, I thought it would be a good time to share with you a very ominous thing I did in fourth grade:
I played Peter Pan in Peter Pan.
Thanks to my dad’s diligent videography, the evidence remains, and there you have it. I said it! I WON’T GROW UP! Like to see somebody try and make me!!
Earlier this year, Preschool Mastermind ignited a global conversation about play… and a very playful one! One topic that caught fire in many interviews, articles and comments was that of “growing up” — or the denial of it. Peter Pan was a very controversial movie when it came out in the 50s… orphan boys kidnapped to live in their dream world… OY VEY! And somehow, I still haven’t stopped throwing fairy dust on people and promising them they can fly.
Well then, it’s no surprise that the idea of adults leaving work at 5pm and hitting the colored play mats for Show ‘n Tell and Nap Time in Miss Joni’s glittery underground chamber made a lot of critics cranky.
“Silly adults, escaping reality!” “more on that Peter Pan complex epidemic…” “This is summa tha dumbest shit I eva seen.” Shhhh… CAREFUL! Your inner child is a sensitive soul!
Sensitive – but at the same time, not so sensitive. When you’re four, certain sensitivities known as “what others might think about me” aren’t fully developed, and so we’re free to roam, to slosh around in our imaginations, to say whatever’s on our mind, to contradict ourselves and amuse ourselves and get excited about things one minute and forget about them the next.
As Miss Joni, I’ve spent a lot of time analyzing the battle between my four-year-old kid self and my thirty-year-old adult lady self, in order to master the balance and ultimately teach others about it in the most articulated, effective way possible.
How do we keep ourselves youthful, spry, creative and unafraid of judgement while honoring all the hard stuff we’ve learned, including how we might be judged? From feeling pulled to be responsibly diligent versus recklessly fabulous, to being prepared and refined in my message versus letting whatever-spills-out of me spill out… where does my container begin and end?
What about yours?
What I’ve ultimately realized is that it’s not a battle at all.
It’s a dance! It’s a skip. It’s trusting you can fly… by embodying all your multiplicity… being in touch with all your sIDes.
The sIDe of you that can’t wait to wake up and conquer the world, the sIDe of you that wants to nap all day, your trusting sIDe, your skeptical sIDe, the sIDe of you that’s just really wants a donut. The word PAN itself literally means “all inclusive.”
These differing sIDes of us actually need to embrace one another fully to be successful… much like four year olds need adults. Kids need containers (rules, schedules, rides to preschool, common grown-up sense) in which to play – so they don’t end up with a giant hook-hand in their face.
And adults need kids–to remind us where we came from and what is possible!
Well, what is possible, then?
As adults we have the capacity to put our imagination into action… and that’s exactly what I’ll do:
:: JOIN MY #FOREVERFOUR PETER PAN BIRTHDAY EXPERIMENT ::
It’s October, it’s my birthday month! Annual Michelle Joni day is coming up October 23rd and I turn four, because 3+1 = 4. I’m using this birthday celebration as an occasion for a exploration of growing up while staying young.
HERE’S THE PLAN, PAN.
FRIDAY, we turn four.
SATURDAY, we turn eighty-four.
SUNDAY, we pull strings and put it all together in Never-Never Land to remake I WON’T GROW UP!.
You can participate in part of it – or ALL of it for maximum effect! You can also participate in it virtually.