Let your children be

When mister (almost) 9 was almost 2 years old I joined a Babes with Babies group. They sometimes invited ladies (older women) to come and talk to us young mummies (not the Egyptian kind – though we might have felt pretty dead from exhaustion some days) about raising children. One such granny-type lady (she had dimples on her knuckles) said something that I remembered this morning, “Take care that you do not always fill your children’s lives with busyness. Let them be sometimes. Allow them to play in the sand, play with water, wander in the garden, because you never know when the Holy Spirit will be talking to them. Spirit has communion with spirit and children’s spirits are so much more receptive that adults.” Wise woman. I do not think she will ever understand the impact that she made in only an hour, in my life. I can not remember her name, but I remember her words.

Her stories about her children has stuck with me, and her joy for life was infectious. May I one day be able to inspire others, as she did in that day, almost 7 years ago.

This morning as I wanted to start with school work I called to aforementioned mr almost 9 to come and he was busy reading a book. I let him be. Later I heard him put on a classic rock cd and as I peeked into his room he was lying on his bed just listening to it. I let him be.

Sometimes I let my children be. I do not fill up their days with busyness but instead allow them to be… with themselves in their minds, in their rooms by themselves, outside playing some or other chapter from Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit or Narnia, while they jump on the trampoline, while they dribble the basketball (and drive me nuts with the thump-thump-thump-thump of it), while they draw their Stampy longnose pictures and write cartoon-letters to him. And yes, I often allow them to be bored. From boredom comes imagination and I want them to have plenty of that.

We have not done formal schoolwork today, but we did walk down to the skatepark to go and play basketball, we did sit down at the mall to have a cold drink and I could show mr almost 4 how things are reflected in windows above. They are witness to my excitement at waiting for my self published books to arrive. They are part of my every day life and I am part of theirs. They have sat and drawn pictures, traced the alphabet (not mr almost 9, but mr almost 4), they played chinese checkers until I packed it up because the pieces were used as points of irritation instead as board pieces. We watched three daddy longlegs “communicate” or something, we sprayed water on a spider’s web to see if it will make it more photogenic – it did not, we saw that we could put 4.4kg onto four half egg shells before it shattered, we killed an anonymous spider (sorry little dude that I did not bother to find out your name – dead spiders are mostly harmless I find). They have watched Robin Williams in Peter Pan, sang Afrikaans songs with Steve Hofmeyr (cultural diversity thy is my middle name) and have just plain been bored.

We talked about swooping magpies being good parents, and I hope that I was a good one today.

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