There are many casualties of a fast paced world, but one that you might not consider very often is how living so fast denies our children the TIME that they need to discover who they are, how they feel, and how to express those feelings.
Have you ever done this? You ask your young child a question. He tries to formulate the answer—you can almost see him putting the words in order in his little brain. But you are in such a hurry that, as soon as he blurts out the essence of his answer, you complete the sentence for him and move on. Perhaps you are not aware of it, but you have robbed your child of a very important process critical to his growth and development. While moving on quickly to the next task might keep the entire family on schedule, continual failure to allow him to fully formulate his thoughts and express them will impede his development. Sometimes we move so fast that we do not even realize what we are doing. We are just getting “life” done.
Children need TIME in every area. They need time to explore, to think, to discover, and to process what they uncover. Play is the way that children learn about themselves and others. Children need adults to take the time to observe their play. Sometimes adults need to engage in play with them, and sometimes it is best to allow them to play independently. There is NOTHING that replaces the gift of slowing down the pace and giving your child TIME…and FREEDOM…to discover and express who she is and how she feels. I am sorry to report that there is no substitute for allowing children this time of discovery. You cannot give them a crash course, graduate them early, or pretend that they do not need it. Trust me.
Most of us live very busy lives. As we enter the summer months, pencil in time every single day that you turn off the noise. Observe your child. Look your pre-teen in the eye. If you ask a question, WAIT on the answer. Slow down the pace. Our children are bombarded with noise, with stress, with deadlines, with schedules and demands. Schedule Discovery Time. Schedule Purposeful Discovery Time. Discover more about your child and the wonderful world you share together. It is an investment that will pay rich dividends.
“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
Happy Summer! Explore with new eyes!