Monday, January 7, 2013

behold the magnificent creativity of your child

I have a new policy in the kitchen.  No stools.  That's because Aharon (18mo) kept climbing onto them and then onto the table and dumping my plants.  And the cleanup annoyed me.  So no stools until he has sufficient control to climb without dumping. 

This is disturbing to Jack and Elazar, who often climb on the stools to help me cook and bake.  Now they can't see.  So they've all been dragging the stools back and forth, and Aharon realized that he, too, can, with effort, drag a stool. 

Then I take it away from him and he shrieks.

Then he realized that he can use the bench in the bathroom.  He can easily carry that, and it's high enough for him to see, but not high enough for him to climb onto the table.  He can step up and get the box of cheerios from on top of the radiator.  He can climb into the sink with it.  So he's managing.

Then this morning, Jack and Aharon pulled over the giant empty jugs from the water cooler and started standing on them.

This got me thinking about Work Ethic and Diligence and Sticking to A Goal and Persevering and having the ability to keep doing something until it gets done.  Something that many people who hear about unschooling are skeptical can be achieved.

As I watched these children circumvent and circumvent my restrictions, and strive and be creative in pursuit of a goal they greatly desired (being able to reach things in the kitchen), i thought about how human beings, by nature, are absurdly innovative and ingenious at getting what they want.  (Excuse me while I remove the box of wacky macs that Aharon is opening with his teeth because I wouldn't open it for him.)  And what do many of us do?  We tell children not to be that way.  Stop that.  Don't do that.  It's annoying.  It's bothering us.  It's wild.  It's inappropriate.  It's making a mess.

What we do is slowly kill their motivation to pursue their goals.  Now they are civilized.  But not very creative, innovative, or joyous.

I'm not saying let them do whatever they want all the time, no matter what.  I'm still not allowing stools in the kitchen.  But be mindful that the creative pursuit of a goal is a beautiful thing that brings much happiness and satisfaction in life. 

1 comment:

  1. We have ikea step stools which were dirt cheap, very sturdy, easy to wipe and can be carried anywhere. They are not very tall, but allow one to reach the sink, the counter, etc.
    I used to be anal about keeping boys out of the bathroom, mostly because every time they got there, there was a huge mess. With Cheni potty training so ridiculously early, I could not do that. Sure, she spent some time playing in the sink, but I wonder whether the reason she never made giant messes had to do with having access.

    Maybe the plants ( and the knives) can dwell somewhere else for a bit...