The Loss of Creativity in America
Do we even notice it? Our lives are so busy- and sometimes it’s just SO easy to put our children to the side and get our own work done. I admit it- I’ve done it myself. But there must be a balance. And I’m not just talking about getting rid of your TV (although it’s not such a bad idea!). Used properly the TV can be an wonderful educational tool. My son was aided in learning his phonics and numbers through educational videos.
I’ve seen parents who never do even one craft with their children. Children- teenagers even- who have never set foot in a library, or in an art museum. Families who never cook or bake from scratch- at all. Not even to make cookies. I’m not saying that your kids are deprived if you don’t do one of these things, but as I get older I realize how many things I wish I knew how to do that even kids in my generation were missing out on!
Children today are taught in the schools, and at school- in such a way that they are not encouraged to find their own solutions. Why? Because it takes time- and let’s face it- who has extra time? Teachers are required to instruct students exactly what will be on standardized tests- and nothing more. Parents have errands to run and work to finish. Districts are pulling out art and music electives. Children are being taught not to ask questions, and not to stray from what is being taught.
Growing up some of my favorite memories were catching and keeping my own bugs, baking cookies, playing tug of war over a mud pit, building science projects, or swinging on a Tarzan rope over a creek. These are all sensory hands-on experiences. You know what I don’t remember- all of the countless hours spent in a classroom listening to the drone of a lecture. But there ARE a few classes that I do remember- and those teachers made a difference to me. Every class that I do remember not only included hands-on instruction, but also hands-on activities. Get your kids out of your seat and moving. I’m not saying get rid of classrooms, but I think our homes and our classrooms are a critical place for children. They should be encouraged to get dirty, try hands-on experiments, learn cause and effect- not just read about it in a book.
Let your kids jump in the puddles- IN the rain! (as long as there’s no lightning)
Send them to the dining room table with a bowl of cornstarch and water to play in.
Leave the garden hose on and make a mud pit or mud slide.
Let your kids measure the ingredients for cookies, or chip dip.
Let your kids catch a frog or lizard and keep it in their bedrooms for a few nights.
Set up a tent inside or in your backyard for the night.
Watch your kids come alive as your start allowing them to get dirty, to construct their own messes and inventions, and let down just a few of those rules which we expect our children to adhere to.