Ingenuity And Creativity: Birthed In Boredom


I learned that children need down time.  They need time just to be and 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 outside to 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 be all things to everyone 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.
Impatience is a wonderful motivator, I find; while waiting for help, my kids often solved their own problems.

Six year old David is a prime example. His grade 1 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. Boredom has its place.

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