I’ve been thinking about this lately. I really want my boys to be creative, to learn to build things, to be active, and to use their imaginations. To develop their minds, they need to be exploring and creating and doing.
Unfortunately, that process is not always very convenient…
Take inventing, for example. Aidan has been into “inventing things” lately. In fact, he built a pretty neat catapult out of a granola bar box, some pencils, and some rubber bands the other week, and it actually worked really well! All of the inventions, however, have required the usage of materials around the house, and most of them have been used to excess. Like the scotch tape. And the glue. And then things (like scissors and sharpies) are left out where Owen can get to them, and if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that that’s a bad, bad thing.
Then there’s music. I love music. In fact, I’m teaching my boys to play the violin. They all love to sing, and I wish that I could say that I encourage their singing, but honestly, on the 87th verse of “Carol of the Bells” (in March!), I’m usually begging them to stop. And then there’s the whistling…
And being active – Jordan and I both want our boys to be active. We don’t want them sitting around all the time – they should be up doing things! But somehow we seem to be always saying, “Can you please stop jumping/running/whatever? Please just find something quiet to do!” But do we really want them to be quiet all the time?
I’m not an expert on this issue, but I do think that the key is balance. By that I mean a balance of exploring and building and inventing, but also realizing that there are times that mess and noise are an inconvenience to others. We currently have a rule that during school time, there is no singing or whistling. Singing while weeding the yard, however, can be encouraged. Cutting up cereal boxes to make an invention is great on a Saturday morning, but not so helpful right after breakfast on a school day. For me, the balance is saying “yes” to their messes more often, or at least finding times in which the mess would be a little more do-able, while also training them to be considerate of others and how their noise and mess affects people.
Do you find yourself saying “no” to things that you actually want to encourage? How do you handle your kids’ need for noise and mess?