The Tyranny of Thomas the Tank Engine


Ideas on pursuing our individual dreams, not the dreams of others. Learning to hear our inner voice to guide us toward them while filtering out the noise of modern society’s dream pushers.


Hi,

Thomas the Tank Engine bothers me.

A lot.

If you don’t have children and/or are fortunate to not know who this is, here you go -

Thomas is a cheerful blue train that runs around with his other train friends trying to be “useful”. Our son enjoys following his adventures. We work to balance the attention he directs to Thomas with other activities, including books by the wonderful Enchanted Lion publisher.

Yet Thomas is still there.

What bothers me so much about this little “useful engine”?

Well, for starters, he and friends are always trying to please Sir Topam Hat. This is a fat man in a top hat and tuxedo, holding a stopwatch. He does our approvals for things like being “busy”, “useful” and “on time”.

Ugh.

Living this kind of work life would be my ultimate nightmare. It was my nightmare for a long time, working “on the clock” at jobs I despised, for approval from people in the form of minimal compensation.

I think about what kind of message Thomas and his friends are sending. The not-so-subtle brainwashing is troubling. It’s an industrialists dream though.

Can you imagine having these ideas of compliance and obedience planted in your mind at such an early age?

Yet I find this happens so much, not only to us as adults. As Thomas demonstrates, it happens early in life.

Thomas isn’t the only one guilty of this influence. Many of the other commercial kids “book” series are too. That’s for a different time though.

For now, I feel grateful for the awareness to see this messaging. While I don’t want to be overt destructive with our son and ban Thomas, I can at least balance out and explain the messages.

It’s a constant battle, though. Marketing to kids is big business. Get them hooked early and they’re customers for life.

I’m starting to group it with other devious and damaging marketing practices like the food and pharmacy industries. But this discussion is for another time too 😊

For now, I’ll continue to fight the battle to protect our son’s attention from Thomas’ tyranny 😆

Catch you next week,

Chris

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