Friday, August 18, 2006

Blind Art Guards

Originally uploaded by ThunderWeasel.
Warning: This is one of those "kids say the darndest things" posts which parents find irresistibly endearing, while others simply find them (at best) mawkish. If you have a tendency to be annoyed by such charming anecdotes, don't read the rest of this post. (And don't click on this link!)

You have been warned.

My oldest son, David, is not, shall we say, enamored of dogs. He has always liked them from a distance---preferably a long distance. When dogs come near, he goes far. He finds them intimidating. Things are getting better these days, but large dogs still leave him pretty nervous.

He has been quite impressed, however, with the idea of seeing-eye dogs. He really likes the fact that they can help blind people with various tasks in life. Encountering such dogs, in fact, has helped him to get over some of his fear of dogs in general.

He was also recently impressed with the guards at the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts. We were there, looking at paintings, and in just about every room there is a guard who kept a polite but very watchful eye on the many jewels of human creativity on display. Whenever someone (usually a child) started to get too close to a picture, the guard would quickly move into position and ask the patron to step away.

A child's mind is always processing the world, and David's found what I think to be a unique insight derived from these two recent impressions. After our museum visit he told me something to the effect, "Blind people would make good guards at the art museum because they have dogs that could chase people away from the pictures."

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