Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Nuturing Magic in Childhood

I recently read this great article: I'm Done Making My Children's Childhood Magical

Here's an excerpt I especially liked:

When we make life a grand production, our children become audience members and their appetite for entertainment grows. Are we creating a generation of people who cannot find the beauty in the mundane?

Do we want to teach our children that the magic of life is something that comes beautifully gift-wrapped -- or that magic is something you discover on your own?

Planning elaborate events, daily crafts, and expensive vacations isn't harmful for children. But if the desire to do so comes from a place of pressure or even a belief that the aforementioned are a necessary part of one's youth, it's time to reevaluate.

A childhood without Pinterest crafts can be magical. A childhood without a single vacation can be magical. The magic we speak of and so desperately want our children to taste isn't of our creation, and therefore is not ours to dole out as we please. It is discovered in quiet moments by a brook or under the slide at the park, and in the innocent laughter of a life just beginning.

We constantly hear that children these days don't get enough exercise. Perhaps the most underused of all of their muscles is the imagination, as we seek desperately to find a recipe for something that already exists. 

I used to work really hard to make my kids' rooms look Pinterest-worthy (before Pinterest even existed). I used to worry about planning picturesque and amazing parties and activities for my children. But in the past few years, I've really embraced the beauty of a simpler life for myself and for my family. Maybe I gave up on the pretty "extras" in our life partly because I was overwhelmed with the basic needs of my family combined with the busyness of running Power of Moms. But I was also very affected by the book Mitten Strings for God by Katrina Kennison where she writes beautifully about the importance of unstructured time for children and the importance of stepping back from orchestrating things so you can actually enjoy the symphony of life.

I think my kids are having a pretty good childhood. I hope they'll have bright memories of the many trips we've taken, the extracurricular activities they've participated in, the birthday parties and holidays I worked hard to make special, the work projects we've taken on together as a family, and the adventures we've had skiing and hiking and biking. But I think some of their fondest memories will include the stuff I didn't orchestrate, the simple things they came up with that make up the fabric of their childhood -  making up games on the trampoline, setting up lemonade and cookie stands, coming up with little plays and performances, hanging out with the neighbor's kittens, and playing "sharks and minnows" in the front yard with a gaggle of neighborhood kids pretty much every summer night at twilight.

There are some great comments about this concept of what really constitutes magic in childhood on our Power of Moms Facebook Page HERE if you want to see what others had to say. We have some very wise moms in our community and I love hearing their thoughts.


anna said...

Saren, I read this same post the other day, too. Loved it and she is right on the money with this philosophy. I look at some of the things moms I know are doing with and for their kids and I am wondering what the heck are they going to do to top that one the next time. "Ain't nobody got time for that!"

There is a quote from general conference that ties in well with this:

"Today's complexity demands greater simplicity." L TOM PERRY

Camile said...

Great food for thought! Thanks!

Eyrealm said...

Love these thoughts. It's so true that we need to nurture our kids by letting them make up their own entertainment. We become addicted to making our kids lives happy by contriving happy experiences instead of having them create their own memories.
Just love it!


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