Today my adult kids are self-starters, self-motivated and they are all creative at work, school and at home. I give all the credit for those qualities to boredom in their childhood.
Many modern parents enrol their kids in vicious cycle classes, activities and sports to make sure that they will push past all rivals and snatch the best scholarships in the best schools to prepare them for wonderful careers. However, when these kids graduate and enter the work force, employers are not impressed with them. Their bosses complain that young employees feel they are automatically entitled to the best jobs and perks but are unwilling to start at the bottom of the ladder and work for the privilege of promotions.
I was a mother of a large family on a hobby farm who could not afford to put all my kids into many activities. So I raised them the way children have been raised for centuries with chores and plenty of time for free play. I discovered that children should not be kept busy all the time. They need time just to relax, even time to be bored because that is when creativity and ingenuity are born.
Surrounded by babies and toddlers, I was not always free to run and solve every obstacle my kids faced as they played. At first, I frantically scrambled to run and help my kids with a problem with a newborn in my arms and perhaps a toddler wrapped around one of my legs.
Finally I just could not do everything at the same time. That meant that my other kids had to wait for me or try to figure out snags by themselves. Loud shrieks for mum gradually grew less frequent because impatience was a wonderful self-motivator. While waiting for help, my kids often solved their own problems.
Six year old David is a prime. His grade one teacher recounted this story to me. It seems that she asked her grade one class this question,
"How would you open the garage door if there were no grown-ups around?"
Everybody just stared blankly at her, except for six-year-old David. He frantically waved his hand in the air and then excitedly blurted out,
"You just stand on a milk crate, push on the upper left-hand corner of the door with a hockey stick and push hard. The door comes up a bit, you jump off the crate and crawl in!!"
Then, David beamed proudly.
You don't have to solve all the logistic problems for your kids or give all the best equipment and toys. Mara was about ten and at the family cottage with a cousin. Every game she suggested, her cousin would point out that they lacked some piece of equipment. After a moment to think, Mara would brightly say,
"Well, we could always use this instead!"
Her aunt and uncle laughed and remarked,
"I wonder whose daughter she is?"
Ingenuity and creativity spring into motion if everything they could ever possibly need is not handed to our kids before they even know to ask for it. I loved watching card board boxes magically transform into cars or doll houses, especially when little people asked older siblings to help them and everyone became excited and involved in the project.
Today my adult kids are self-starters, self-motivated and they are all creative at work, school and at home
I give all the credit for those qualities to boredom.