I have a very dear childhood memory from a lazy summer day where I, along with a few neighbor friends, found an abandoned shopping cart and decided to build our own amusement park in our backyard. We really wanted to build a roller coaster, but none of us had an engineering degree, so we were left with a lot of makeshift mechanics at hand. We spent much of the day turning wagons, refrigerator boxes, and rope swings into something more elaborate and freewheeling. Our ramshackle amusement park was only operational for a single day (most of it wound up in the garbage) but I would like to think we all have hung on to that memory.
I was reminded of my amusement park building days when I happened upon the short video Caine’s Arcade last week. Caine is a 9-year-old boy living in East L.A. and doing his best to engage his creativity and ingenuity during lazy weekend afternoons with his father. He is doing a hell of a job. Caine’s father runs a used automotive parts store and, in a moment of generosity, his father gave up some of the storefront to Caine so the boy could build his dream arcade out of discarded cardboard and shipping detritus. I highly recommend you watch the video below:
While everyone is certainly capable of making up their own minds about what you just saw (after you dry your tears) I have to say this boy’s vision and unflagging commitment are something seemingly rare in the contemporary world. Caine, in this video, demonstrates, not just creativity and resourcefulness, but a real desire to provide a rewarding experience to his prospective customers (so much so, he even gets down on his hands and knees to spit out tickets from a slot). An exceptional kid living an analog dream in the digital age.
Can you think of, or share, any other instances of serious childhood creativity and inventiveness to compare? Do we not give our children enough credit for their innate cleverness?