I believe that children’s lives are too structured nowadays. They go to school, where they are organised. After school they have organised after-school activities which consist of extra courses, organised sport or even structured playing with a selected “play date”.
It’s as if someone has to timetable their total lives in case they have some free time to do what they want or, heaven forbid, spare time in which to get bored.
Mankind needs to get bored occasionally so that creative juices spill forth to dispel that boredom. In the same way, children need to invent ways to amuse themselves without having to be constantly entertained by someone else.
I can hear complaints from mothers right now. “We can’t let our children get bored cause they’ll get into mischief. We have to monitor them all day. It’s a crazy world out there.”
The truth is that it’s always been a crazy world and it ain’t going to get less crazy. The best thing you can do for your children is to allow them to develop some self-reliance skills. If they get bored then there’s a good chance they’ll make up some games, do some drawing or even read a book because they feel like it.
Or they may just sit there and reflect. Dream a little. Let their imagination take over.
To have most of your day organised for you is like living in an institution. It is stifling and robs a person of autonomy. I’m suggesting that this is true for children as well.
In an age when imagination has been stifled by force feeding from computers, in byte size pieces of information rather than ideas, I believe that it is more important than ever to allow children to develop their own creative skills. Not all the time. Just some of the time.