The good old days…
Why do people reminisce so much about those days, yet not try to re-create at least some of those magical memories for children today?
I can already hear the reasons – it’s not safe anymore, it won’t be exciting for children, they have more fun things they would rather do etc etc.
Do they really?
Try taking away the innumerable forms of modern entertainment (more trappings than entertainment if you ask me) and let them play, let them play like you did. Let them run barefoot, in the mud or rain, let them play sport in the park and have fun on the swings, let them just sit, smile and enjoy the company of their friends. Let them fall, get hurt and pick themselves up, again and again. Let them have a carefree childhood, like you did. You will hear them laugh, like you did, unbridled laughter, the kind of laughter that we sometimes tell them is too loud in public.
And there’s another trapping of modern life. We expect children to behave a certain way. Are we letting them be children? Or are we responsible for them growing up too quickly?
A dear friend recently sent me this picture of her little one and her bestie. It warmed my heart. Their expressions and body language encapsulate everything childhood should be!
And of course, my fond childhood memories came flooding back. I loved playing in the park near our home. I was a lot more daring back then. I would stand, not sit, on the swings and I would sometimes jump off, mid air. It was exhilarating. My sisters, friends and I would take old cardboard boxes, flatten them and slide down the banks. I can still hear us screaming in delight. My best times though, were at the beach. (Check out my post from earlier this year https://wordpress.com/post/mayajag.wordpress.com/104)
I recall a holiday at my cousin’s house when we found an old cupcake tray. We cleaned it up to make mud cupcakes outside. We spent time digging up mud and moulding it to fit to perfection. It seemed like an ingenious idea at the time!
That’s another advantage of a carefree childhood – it helps develop your imagination. There was never a toy for every season or a gadget to help you find an easy solution… we had to make the best of the little we had. And yes, we gained so much more.
The words of Kahlil Gibran echo in my ears as I write this…
“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.”
How will your children discover their true potential if they aren’t given the freedom to do so? Watch them carefully, of course, but let them be. Let them experience and discover things for themselves so they determine their own likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. If possible, take them to the same or similar places you enjoyed as a child and let them create their own memories. Let them spend more time outdoors.
Just this week, while on our way to a water park with family, my seven year old son says to me – “Oh! I don’t need my tablet. I’m going to be too busy having fun in the water.” It was the best thing I have heard him say all year, honestly! I’m planning for more such moments as 2017 winds down and we welcome the new year.
So yes, it’s crunch time for the countdown to Christmas and your little ones are hoping Santa (you) delivers on their wishlist. Amid all the gifts, remember to give them the most priceless – time spent with you, having simple fun like every child should.
Let’s bring back the good old days!
I would love to hear about your carefree childhood too – please share your memories.
The good old days…