The Forbidden Forest

Informant Background:

This informant is a senior at USC in the Naval ROTC program. The daughter of a navy chaplain, she spent a lot of her life traveling. Despite having to move, she still claims she had a every enjoyable childhood and made many lifelong friends because of it. She can easily recount the many games and stories her and her friends would play.

Informant’s Story:

“In elementary school, we had this massive play ground that was divided into like, three sections. There was a blacktop section, a jungle gym section, and a soccer field. the on the edge of the soccer field was this forest that we weren’t allowed to go into because then the monitors couldn’t keep track of us. Us being kids, we came up with stories as to what was in those mysterious woods. We thought there were monsters in there so we made a attempted to make a fence at the opening of the path that lead into the forest out of sticks and branches we found lying around. When we found the next day that the sticks were moved so there was a hole that someone walked through, oh man, our imaginations absolutely exploded. We made different groups who would defend the play ground and who would bravely walk into the forest in spite of the teachers rules to fight the monsters and stuff. Oh man, I’m suddenly sad now because I miss being a kid [she laughs].”



This story is a classic example of how powerful a childhood imagination is and how from a young age we are intrigued by the unknown. A story like this is a very common story among children. When an authority figure tells us not to do something, we are suddenly intrigued whatever it is we’re not supposed to do, especially when that something can so easily be turned into a mystery. A forest that we can’t go into begs the question why? simple; because there’s monsters in there. Kids being kids, they decide to do something and create a barrier. At this point, we’re still unsure if there really are monsters in the forest. When the next day comes though, and there’s a development and the barrier has been altered mysteriously, well that confirms it, there’s something in there and we must protect our domain. The fact that kids are able to make that kind of logical thinking using only their fantastical imagination, shows just how creative the child’s mind is. What this story also demonstrates is how this child like wonder then carrys with us through our adult life. When we’re told we can’t do something, our instant response is “why not”. This idea of “why not” leads us to create and discover using our technical ability acquired through schooling and life experience. We find new locations, create incredible inventions, and push the limits of what we “can’t” do.