We want order
Friday, October 21, 2005
Even at a young age, we try to order things to our liking.
Gabriel, my son, is the typical 5 year old: He plays XBox video games (Shrek, SharkTail, Sonic); He plays with imaginary friends; He surfs kids web sites; He doesn't know how to read yet, but he knows the alphabet; He knows how to count up to a 100; He knows how to write his name, however, the letters are backwards. I.e. They are in the right order, but they are mirror images of the correct letters; Basically, his a normal kid.
He's started asking the hard questions in life: "Dad, why do I have to wear underwear?" I couldn't explain it to him. I know it's a social convention, but beyond that I really don't know why.
He is also trying to put order where I thought there was none.
Yesterday, we were reading his bed time story "I Know a Rhyno." In this particular book, a little girl encounters eight animals throughout the story. In the last page she's fallen asleep with all her stuffed animals around her bed. Gabriel likes to count things, so he started counting the animals.
After counting four animals, I noticed that he had to go back to the middle of the book - He kept looking for something.
I realized then that Gabriel was counting the animals in the same order that we had encountered them while reading. He was going back to page where he saw the animal and he needed to corroborate the next animal in the "sequence."
Why did he do that? My only guess is that he's at the age when he's starting to have control over certain things. I.e. He controls what he wears to school; He controls what shoes to put on; He controls which game he wants to play; He can also control a bit of our reading time, as he's in charged of picking the books to be read. He likes "zilly bookz," as he calls them.
In general, I don't think we (humans) are used to look for "out of the ordinary" patterns in our daily life.
We tend do most things subscontiously. For example, I put my socks in exactly the same order everyday: left first and then right; The last thing I do before going to bed, is brush my teeth; etc. We seem to grow patterns into habits that help us make sense of our world.
I personally like a bit order in my daily goings (My GF may disagree on this one: I can't convince her that it is chaotic order), but I also like my days to be different.
I wonder what kind of patterns we would find in our surroundings, or realize we follow, if we paid more attention.