What will happen to stories?

This is the question Michael Chabon poses in “Manhood for Amateurs: The Wilderness of Childhood” in The New York Review of Books. He points out that the current generation of parents are overprotective, shuttling their children in cars, never allowing them to go outside and explore. He claims that people read and write stories because they have once been explorers.

Many stories for children are about children exploring on their own from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to Un Lun Dun. Many adults today remember exploring on their own without constant oversight. We had rules, but we were allowed to roam the neighborhood, meet other children, and imagine new worlds. A writer draws from experience, and writing a good adventure story requires familiarity with adventures.

I still like to explore. I explore my city, the mountains, the universe through books and telescopes. And I explore imagined worlds by reading and writing. My parents encouraged exploration by pushing me outside and taking me to visit strange landscapes like the aftermath of a volcanic eruption. I also remember exploring books, reading about astronomy, famous explorers, and volcanos. Reading encourages exploration, asking questions, and exploration encourages more reading. Do children today explore? Do they exercise their imaginations?

The stories of tomorrow are safe. People still share the tales of their lives. Some stories may appear in new media such as YouTube, Storybird, or interactive games, but they will be much like the stories we’ve always known. Exploration has been a part of humanity since the beginning. We are too curious. We want to know the reasons why. Periods of discovery wax and wane. Someday people may even begin colonizing the solar system in a period of great exploration like the sailing ships of the past discovering new lands across the sea. Even if children today do not explore, some will grow up and discover exploring. They will encourage their children to explore and ask the hard questions. And write stories from their imaginations.

I can’t wait to read the future stories.