We all enjoy receiving admiration, any kind of admiration. Man, even the video crowd from Guitar Hero pumps us up with all that cheering and applause. And young Gerald McGrew agrees with us, too. During his zookeeping daydream, the throngs of people visiting his zoo always speak of how great he is. It starts off small enough, but eventually grows until he's the greatest McGrew EVER!
But, wait, isn't this all in his imagination? Isn't he really just thinking about how super-special and awesome he is? Well, yeah. But what's wrong with that? After all, McGrew has to admire himself before he can have the confidence, ambition, and will to really do something special. And the imagination is his, and our, preferred route to self-admiration.
Q: If the whole thing took place in McGrew's imagination, then why did he imagine the people liking it so much?
A: Sometimes it can help us to imagine others praising our imaginary works. They can help us get ambitious enough to actually try those imaginings out.
Q: Do you think McGrew admired the zookeeper?
A: I do. In a way, McGrew's admiration of the zookeeper prompted him to try to one-up the zookeeper in his imagination.
Q: But wouldn't the zookeeper be upset if McGrew eventually beat him?
A: Maybe, but maybe not. When a child admires someone, they eventually try to outdo them. Many adults are more than happy to see a child who admires them do better.
Q: Why do children admire adults?
A: Children admire adults as part of growing up. A kid admires an adult and then tries to do what the adult does. If they practice and study enough, the child can eventually become better than the adult, finding something they enjoy for life.