Wednesday, November 14, 2012

TV-Free Time as the Mother of Invention

As I was looking through the pictures that I just uploaded from our camera onto our computer, I could not resist sharing three that I had forgotten that I’d even taken last week:

Look at Nina’s feet in this one.  Do you know what she is doing?

She’s testing out Duplo roller skates, which she conceptualized and built all on her own.

Jack then took Nina’s model as inspiration and tweaked her ideas into something designed for a completely different purpose – a jump toy.  With pride, he moved his self-created toy about the living room and tried leaping over and around it at different angles.

Both children initiated their own learning.  They immersed themselves in inventiveness and purposeful activity, and then called out to Mike and me with glee to come and see what they had created. 


Their ingenuity makes me pause to recognize an eternal truth – humans are made to create.  It is natural and instinctive for us to do so.  Our Creator has endowed each of us with an amazing sense of resourcefulness and imagination. 

In our family, the fruit of that gift is often best enjoyed in a screen-free environment.  I have written before about how media and our eldest boy’s mind don’t mix (or mix too well, depending on how you look at it), how we have become a relatively tv-free family, and, consequently, how we sometimes spend evenings when other typical families might be watching television doing things like magnet painting and playing impromptu self-made family games.  What I have not shared is what we do on most of our “free” evenings.  That is, let the kids create.

Drawing.  Designing.  Imaginary play.  Forts.  Playdough models.  Parades.  Mock political rallies.  You name it, our kids create it.  And, I love it! 

Daily, I am impressed with the ingenuity that all three of Mike and my children evidence.  Moreover, I am amazed with how freely they move between what is and what could be.  With the heart, eyes and hands of childhood they care not for where imagination ends and reality begins.  Rather, they let imagination guide their inventiveness.  And, oh the things they invent.

As I reflect upon Duplo skates and jumping toys, I give thanks for the circumstances that led Mike and I to choose to be a mostly TV-free home and the inventiveness which we have witnessed as a result.

At the same time, I wonder when I lost the ability to move as easily as my children from conceptualization to creation.  What is that hampers me – and so many other adults – from consistently using the gifts that we have been given?  How can free ourselves from habits that confine our vision and impede the realization of what could be?  Is there a lesson that our children can teach us about how exercise our creativity daily?

I think so, and I am open to learning.


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