As I sit here, dirty because the pipes were turned off, I think about how great it was to be a kid when you didn't feel compelled to shower everyday and dirt and grass stains were acceptable on your clothing. A friend once told me that one of her favorite child time hobbies was playing in the mud, I believe her. I would not believe or even expect to hear such a statement from a modern day child.
I have a beef with Dick and Jane, mostly because I feel like they don't look like real children. There was in fact a shift in picture book illustrations where clean and pristine faces became akin to slightly dirty children sitting on a Brooklyn stoop (Sendak anyone?). Nowadays, I'm starting to think that children might identify better with those sparkly clean Dick and Jane types, where clothing is ironed and white is bright. I once had a child tell me they were dirty because he had spilled bubbles on himself. I replied, "Bubbles are soap. You don't need to change."
What happened to the days when kids came home dirty? When children's clothing was cheap because they outgrew it and got it dirty. I see kids walking down the streets in designer clothing and I think to myself, that costs more than my clothing. When I enter into the world of teaching one of my goals is to get children as dirty as possible, and teach them that it's okay to be dirty as a child. We will crawl in the grass, finger paint until we look like pieces of art ourselves, and certainly take a role in the mud.