Children, Creativity, and Decorating Your Own Cathedral.
I love the analogy of cathedral - you should see the architectural “scenes” our 4 year old has set up all over the house- EVERYTHING is a staged scene with animals grouped with furniture and blankets to create a finished piece…
But along with creativity I think we should also mention the lack of “stimulation” can be a critical ingredient. Or what people today think of as “nothing.”
Our 4 & 6 year old have very little access to tv (general rule is tv only if you have a fever), and no video games. They do not know what Saturday morning cartoons are.
So, for example, today, on a Saturday, they have spent hours constructing an elaborate “set” of tiny dolls, My Little Ponies (all purchased, recycled, from Thrift Stores), our furniture, blankets, plants (sigh, my prized orchid has ponies and unicorns on it…)…
which resulted in one huge scene filled with minute detail of micro-interactions that created a whole.
Would they have the attention span to achieve that amount of detail if they sat their childhood away in front of tv?
Similarly, their afternoons are spent in the backyard with no entertainment except for what they can make or find. Endless days of hunting caterpillars, digging holes… sometimes I watch them, dogs by their side, just slowly pace the yard, looking… And then they come to me with questions, and learn.
As I drove to kindergarten yesterday, the preschooler piped happily as we passed signs of spring: “Forsythia! Grapefruit pears! (That’s what she calls Bradford pears) Cherry trees! Pine tree-Pine tree-Pine tree-Pine tree-Pine tree… Grapefruit pear!”
And I thought about children who can’t identify a tree.
To identify a tree takes observation, study, pondering its differences to then settle on a species’ traits that match what you see.
So creativity, yes!
But I also think that much creativity comes from the stillness of settled quiet, which then allows thoughts to gather, form, then spark something new.
(Not to go off topic but I also wanted to say… sorry for being so verbose! This is why I should be relegated to Twitter, at least then I have to stick to 140 characters…)
P.s. Regarding Charrise’s comment on “teaching kids fear”- our children also know what black widows and copperheads look like, that they always need to be with the pack because of the coyotes, to bring your whistle in the field during hunting season so when you hear a shotgun blast you can let ‘em know you’re there (and to NEVER walk the woods then!)…
How has reality affected them?
Practical and aware of real life issues, yes.
Fearful, they are not.
In fact, only one of them has had a nightmare, once.
Whereas most parenting books have chapters on “when nightmares begin.”
Could it be the incidence of nightmares increased in children with the exposure to tv and video games?
Even when my children see tv now, the Heffalumps in Winnie The Pooh make them turn away- *that’s* scary to them.
Reality? Yes, it’s scary in a different way- but they are secure in their pack, that their pack is there protecting them, and, with their knowledge of real scary things, feel in control to prevent that bad thing from occurring.
Hence freeing them to hunt caterpillars and dig worms with their dogs for hours.