Monday, December 13, 2010

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast...

Such a tragedy that I missed this!
I remember when I was in 7th grade our television broke. I can't recall why, I have a fuzzy memory of it falling off the stand, but that could be wrong. What I do recall clearly was that my father decided this would be a wonderful chance to not replace it, and to live television free. I also remember that this was the year that "Mork and Mindy" was extremely popular and I was really pissed at my dad that I wasn't able to watch this extremely important bit of American culture. What my dad remembers is that this was the year that his 11 year-old daughter entertained herself in the most creative ways. Hmmmm.

I just read a really interesting article by Darell Hammond in The Huffington Post entitled "In Defense of Boredom: Why it is Essential to a Happy and Healthy Childhood". This article brings up a lot of ideas about how our over-scheduled and action-packed (or television-filled) lives actually limit our children. Even in my own family where I try to make as much time for the kids to just "be", I find myself filling in the time with classes and scheduled "fun". And, what I notice most about myself is that when we take our children somewhere new, I work myself into a frenzy researching and planning in the hopes of staving off BOREDOM. Because, for me, I equate their boredom with my day dragging on interminably, having to listen to them fight or whine or worse: not have fun. But, as the author of the Huffington Post piece says: 

"...boredom serves its purpose if children have both the time and space to play--and preferably, some other kids to play with. "Productive boredom" may sound like an oxymoron, but under the right circumstances, boredom will lead to child-directed activities that promote creativity, hone life skills, and enhance physical health".

Filling a cup with spray bottles. Oh, the joy!
When we took the kids to New York this Summer we stayed at the house of a friend who has no children. Thus, there were no toys for the kids. You will likely not be surprised to hear that I was stressed out about that (and my husband wasn't). However, this friend has a tiny, but beautiful, back yard deck overflowing with plants and flowers. Our children had the brilliant idea of using spray bottles to soak the plants. In absolute glee they would spray themselves and the plants for hours. There was nothing I needed to add. Nothing for me to do. They created their own game and were absolutely thrilled. 

Sometimes it's just the simplest things that bring the greatest pleasure and the greatest memories. For me, this is a reminder that I sometimes make parenting so much more difficult than I need to. 

Thanks for reading!
The Twin Coach

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