I want to say from the outset that this post – much like my post on caffeine – is merely a post to stimulate dialogue. I myself am unsure where I will go with this, with regards to my boys.
I am seeking, thinking, and even experimenting a bit….all in an effort to stimulate creativity and exploration in my children.
If you’ve followed my blog for very long, you know that my oldest son has speech delay.
As it currently stands, my four year old, while much more verbal, is also delayed in his speech. I have been much less worried about my youngest because he has always met milestones in his own sweet time; as opposed to my oldest who met every milestone very early.
My oldest has always been advanced for his age: from rolling over, sitting and teething, to teaching himself to ride without training wheels at 4 and his ability to read words with 7, 8 or even 10 letters at the tender age of 5 1/2.
Speech is the only area where he has been deficient.
This has caused my husband and me much concern; and it led to my all-night research project one night that caused me to stumble upon what is called “Einstein Syndrome” – something which so described my son that it could have actually been written about him.
I was surprised to learn that as a child Einstein could actually be heard practicing phrases and words under his breath, something I have often heard my son do many times. When I correct him I will often later find him in his room practicing the corrected sentence until he has mastered it.
But that is not what this article is about – I simply want to lay a foundation for something that is on my heart today. I don’t often write this way; by opening a document and writing out my thoughts with no clear plan for where I’m going, but I simply cannot shake the feeling that I need to pour out these thoughts and feelings on my heart…and maybe hear from you, my faithful readers, who have followed this saga from the time when I first began to share about my son’s delay and our journey to helping him develop the obvious gifts God has given him.
Gifts that intimidate and sometimes terrify me with their greatness.
One thing I have learned from reading about the mothers of great men is that when all of society gave up on their children and labeled them as “deficient”, “retarded”, and “backward” they saw the greatness in them that everyone else missed. They refused to accept the labels, choosing rather to invest in their children, even when it seemed ridiculous to everyone else.
Greatness that astounded the world and changed history.
Have we as moms, in an effort to not appear like we believe that we are raising the next Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, or Steve Jobs, chosen rather to look at our children as average, accepted the labels, and followed the status quo?
And yet there are those moms, even of recent history, who decided that “average” and “statistical” would not define their home, and that decision set the standard for their home and the activities their children would and would not do.
Ben Carson’s mom was one such hero.
Her children were set to be mere statistics. A single mom of two boys. You can already get the picture. A tired, overworked mom trying to keep up with the usual over-active nature that boys tend to portray. No husband to lean on and turn to for those times when boys need a heavy hand that only a dad can deliver.
Yea – the Carsons could have been just another average family on the wrong side of the tracks. Ben Carson was hot on a trail that would have landed him in prison. But Ms. Carson saw something in her boys that no one else could see. She saw greatness when everyone else saw a potential felon.
And she was crazy enough to let her visions of grandeur lead her to limit their television to 2 shows a week, and in its place fill their home with books…even though she, herself, couldn’t read.
And there is a similarity I see here with extraordinary people: they were given opportunities to dream, daydream, imagine.
It wasn’t just something that just happened.
It was something they were provided. They were given time, room, and opportunity to let their minds roam, explore, imagine, envision….dream.
So, I’m thinking today…
How has our society stripped our children of this opportunity?
Toys and devices that do everything for our kids
Media that creates too much noise to let them mind roam and explore
Too many toys and “choices” so that our kids never want something so bad they have to dream about having it…because as parents we feel obligated to meet their every need and give them their every want
Schedules that are so cram-packed with school, sports, private lessons….running to and fro and all around from the time our kids wake up until they collapse in bed at the end of a busy day that they barely had one moment to just sit and let their minds wander
Are we afraid of giving our kids ample “white space” and wide margins, thinking that we are causing them to miss an opportunity to become the next child prodigy or earn a sport’s scholarship?
But perhaps our kids have been robbed of the opportunity to just sit and daydream…wonder…think….dream….about anything and everything?
Daydreaming that will lead to exploration. Wondering that will lead them to pursue a passion they might not otherwise discover they have, because they’ve been too busy, and their lives have been too noisy.
So here is something I’m thinking about
1. During rest time next week, in place of a cartoon (which is usually my kids’ only screen time), I will give them books, puzzles and quiet toys. I will turn of all noise and just invite the silence in our home; but provide them tools that will lead them to daydream and think.
2. Remove the batteries from most of their toys and encourage imaginative play.
I still haven’t completely made up my mind about how I can encourage daydreaming in my kids, but I know that I want my kids to day dream. I want to give them room to just sit and let their mind go on an adventure, because I know that dreaming is the first step to achieving a great dream.
And while they dream, I will pray that God will fill their hearts and minds with His dreams, His thoughts, and His plans – no matter what they are: for ministry, science, music, academics, politics….
I just want to give them the tools to hear His voice and dream His dreams!
Because I’m just crazy enough to believe my kids were created for greatness!