Some time ago I heard something said that stuck with me. One of those times that you hear something and it sort of punches you in the gut. And even though the discussion was about kids and phones and the distraction they are, I think it can be applied to a lot of things in today’s world that can distract us. The quote was this:
“…We steal their boredom from them. As a result, we are raising a generation of writers who will never start writing, artists who will never start doodling, chefs who will never make a mess in the kitchen, athletes who will never kick a ball against a wall, musicians who will never pick up their aunt’s guitar and start strumming.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. This is not about the do’s and dont’s of parenting and a lecture on how to be a good one. Because the truth is this is a learn-as-you-go type of adventure and we are all just hanging on. There are plenty of things my cubs enjoy that involve a screen. But my little Brooks brought this lesson and reminder to life so vividly for me the other day that I just had to share it.
It was a week that I told the kids we were going to have zero devices. I was feeling burnt out a bit and I wanted to make sure we weren’t losing focus on more important things. You know, a little bit of mom guilt being felt and that darn quote kept coming back to me. Well, this is easier said than done when you are the youngest in the house! Being four is hard. But each time Brooks came to me throughout that first day and exclaimed in frustration he was bored, I simply repeated my very tired line of, “figure it out”.
A short time later as I was getting off a phone call, Brooks came running into my room yelling with excitement, “Mom! I have to show you something!“. He grabbed me by the hand and led me to his room, skipping all along the way. Trying to contain himself, Brooks told me all about how he was bored and trying to figure out what to do when his big sister had an idea for him. Together they took an empty can, removed the labeling, and punched holes all through the sides of it. He looked at me with a sneaky smile as if tempting me to guess what they had done. I looked down at him and excitedly responded with, “And?!”
Grabbing me by the hand once again, he pulled me into his closet, told me to sit down and wait. He shut off the light, closed the door, and sat down next to me. Then, he told me to close my eyes. “One… two… three…”
Suddenly there were sparkles of light all around us. They jumped and danced as he twisted the can around the flashlight he had pointed inside of it. Brooks was watching the light and I was watching him. His eyes lit up with excitement as his view darted around that dark closet, trying to spot every fleck. It was a quiet, yet profound moment. This is how motherhood keeps you on your toes. Profound life moments can, in fact, be found in a closet with your four-year-old. What can I say… if you know, you know.
It was one of those classic times as a parent when you are trying to teach your kids something, but instead, you end up learning the most. Have you ever experienced that?
It was like this tangible evidence right in front of me of what childhood, and to be honest, what life should always be for these cubs – wonder, curiosity, and pure magic. And frankly, what life should be for me as well. I had been letting so much news and worldly things cloud my head and weigh on my heart these past few months that I lost sight of the magic. That magic that can be found in the mundane of daily life – we just have to be willing to turn away from the distractions of the world and let the light in.
I don’t know if this story will impact you the same way it did me or if this comes across as ramblings from a mom that found herself in a closet with her bored four-year-old. Either way though here’s to looking for and focusing on the magic that can be found in our daily life. It’s there, I’ve seen it.
And here’s to shutting out the distractions so we can make room for the light.