I needed paper, scratch paper to use as markers in a book full of writing exercises I wanted to copy down later. So, I grabbed a page from my son’s old Power Ranger coloring book. As I started tearing it into small pieces I felt a few twangs of guilt. Stop it, I thought to myself, that book is two and a half years old and he was never into coloring, no matter how much I encouraged it. Come to think of it, none of my friend’s kids, nor my niece and nephew, were ever coloring book enthusiasts either.
As kids, my sisters and I would spend hours with crayons, markers, and eventually colored pencils. We would go through entire books, page after page, until we found the one picture that needed us to color it right then and there. It would have had just the right shapes for that moment and, most importantly, it would have been screaming a need for specific set of colors between its perfectly spaced black lines. My son’s generation just does not relate to that sort of need. For us, it was a chance to bring life to a world still testing its legs after closing the door on black and white dreams. We were born with dials for tint, color, and contrast (three more than our grandparents’ drab world of bright/dark) but we needed more control of our visions. Just as our children (born in a time of pixels and bytes) for whom the world has color aplenty. The need for them is to control how it moves to make it go places we could never have traced, much less colored.