Back when I was growing up, life was simpler. There was no rush to grow up. The life was simple and rewarding. No peer pressure, only friendships. Children benefit immensely from simple life. As parents, we tend to forget that. In an effort to give everything to our children, we miss what is important and most essential – A simple joyful life.
A few days back when I was exchanging notes on how our vacation are going with a friend, I realized how we have complicated a simple childhood. Come vacation and we are busy with enrolling our kids to an array of activities. Trying to keep them busy and away from boredom. When that’s exactly what holidays should be. I took a trip down the memory lane when being a kid was much easier and more fun. Life was simpler then, you see. It offered benign life lessons, which stand invaluable through time.
Lessons Children Learn from Simple Life
1. Boredom is part of life: ‘I am bored’ has become the most feared phrase for parents today. Children often complain how they have nothing to do and are getting bored. And parents take it upon themselves to keep them occupied and entertained. While the truth is boredom is part of life and it is not possible to stay entertained all the time. Another important take away is that it is a child’s own responsibility to keep him/herself entertained and not parent’s.
2. Simple things bring great Happiness: Happiness can be found in smallest of things. You don’t need to take your child to circus or buy him a present to make him happy. Neither does a child need constant affirmations and praise from parents to be happy and confident. Happiness often comes from smallest of things like watching a flower boom from a plant you have planted, making paper boats, helping a friend or saving an ant from drowning in a puddle. These are the adventures and great sources of joy.
3. Life is not a Race: Life is not a race but a journey. Everyone has their own pace and that is just fine. Life is not a comparison to see who has got what. Children today are more drawn into this comparison. Who has got a bigger car, who has a fancier room, who went where for holidays…these comparisons have stolen the sanity of life.
4. Unstructured Free Play is the Best: A lot can be learned from free unstructured play. It teaches children to follow their interests, explore different ways to play with the same toys, make play things out of nothing and keep their imagination alive.
5. Nature is a Great Teacher: Children who spend more time outdoors grow up to be more curious and aware of their surroundings. What can be more exciting than finding a nest with eggs? Or following a ladybird, catching a butterfly and exploring the patterns on its wings. Children learn a great deal from nature specially mathematical concepts like symmetry, patterns, counting, probability etc.
6. There are no Short cuts: Children who grow up less entitled understand the value of hard work and dedication. They come to know nothing in life comes easy and they have to slog to earn their privileges. A simple life offers plenty of lessons on that. Watching ants work all through summer is not a waste of time, but a great lesson.
7. Less is More: Toddlers who have fewer toys often spend more time playing than those who have cupboards full of toys. These children know their options and understand how to make the best out of them. And when they do not want to play with those toys, they head outdoors. On the other hand, children with many options stand confused and find it difficult to focus on a single toy to play with.
Families who follow a simple life are much happier, content and well bonded. There is less stress and yes less entitlement too! Health and sleep is better as well. But they all come at a price…price of Simple Life.
I believe in a simple life but that said everyone has their own calling. Follow your own pace! Don’t rush or slow down for someone else. Find the one that suits you and your family to find your own peace and joy.
Nurturing Children for a Happy and Equitable Society