Friday, November 16, 2007

Preaching On Dana

I seem to be stuck on the idea of bored children because this is a major concern of mine. I have begun to do a dog and pony show daily to get the attention of my students and I still hear the same ol' thing "this is boring".

My response today is different than it was years ago to my bored children.
Today I say, "you brought that with you. I can not make you love life. I am just here to make you learn about art."

Generally, they look blankly at me. I smile and move on. But they never repeat that to me again. Or if they do they get the same response as the one before, I smile then move on.

BUT I see their boredom.
They move their hands to shape a lump of clay,
Or sketch a crude drawing to satisfy the "cartoon" assignment but it lacks any humor or it is just crude humor,
Or they sleep through the ONE MINUTE video "today in history" because they can not connect it to themselves or even find any interest in knowing what has happened beyond today.
They draw but only on demand.
They follow the directions and see the development but get no satisfaction from a job well done nor interest in how to make it better.

What is the problem with this sort of child?

Often this is the child whose mother will call and scream at the teacher because we are bringing down her darlin's GPA.
"He received a 93! He should have a 100!"

"WHY? " we ask.

"Because he IS there!"
"But he comes in late, and does not work. He would rather talk and flirt! He takes up space I will agree. But he does not work to his ability. He is there, I will agree. He can do it I have seen but it takes too much time from his visiting."

Still Mom screams, "He deserves a 100! Not based on his work! He should get it just for showing up!"
The moral of my blog today:
Well meaning mothers do everything they can for their children but deprive their children of the ability to experience anything themselves. Let them fall on their face and pick themselves up. Otherwise they will always need a crutch. They drive them here, then to there. It is ballet, and baseball and art and soccer, too but the problem is that it is overloading the child and they have NO time to BE a child. They rush from one organized thing to another and give them classes galore. Every day is taken up and no time is left for family. And family is what they NEED.

You want them to be happy. Stop being there for their EVERY desire. Be there for their every NEED (food, clothing, shelter and love, love, love but not things, things, things!) Take care of them but give them time to enjoy the outdoors. You say they hate going outside? That is because it is uncharted territory to them. They are stuck in their chair in front of tv or the computer. Give them paper, and pencil and scissors and glue. Help them create and discover their imagination. Our children today are experiencing overload and they are young. Too much stuff, not enough of imaginative time.

I look at the toys offered to our children in the stores. They are commercially based, no imagination. Choose the old fashioned things that help them create. The ability to create is the beginning to problem solving. Children who can not create or imagine are the ones who struggle with problem solving. I worry that we have intelligent people who will never come up with that new invention because they simply don't want to put themselves out. They don't need for anything.

Read to them. Find fun things to read and show them. Poems by Shel Silverstein or Norman Rockwell's drawings.
Let them dig in the garden. Give them their space to grow anything they want.
Plant seeds in clear plastic containers so they can watch the roots growing daily and see life germinate.
Take them to visit family and friends and grandparents who love them. They need to bond with them, too. The extended family is a valuable asset and gives them a place to run when they need someone else besides you.

Just in case anyone thinks I am writing this due to something with my own grandchildren, that would not be the case. As I say the things to do I think of the plants on the window ledge at Ryan and Jenny's house, and the blackboard in the dining room and I think of the craft cart at Leann and Randy's house and the books on the shelf.

Thanks, Dana for giving me permission to vent. I hope someone sees this and recognizes themselves in what they do and can change early on before their child is bored with life.


  1. How ture, true true!

    I've often said that if I had anouther child, I wouldn't buy them a thing until they turned 3 for their birthday or christmas. I'd kill the computer and NO hand held junkie toys.

    Kids are fat, unimaginative and slothful. They were taught to be those things.

  2. Amen! Amen! Amen! Darla, you go girl!! This so true. I have a whole filing cabinet (what am I saying . . . a whole office) full of people who have dulled themselves into such a stupor. They have parents who, in large measure, have allowed their kids to grow up without their love and attention. When they did give it, it was not what the child needed. Now these people are in trouble with the law and they get to come and see me. And who is usually there to fight their child's battles for them . . . mom and dad, but ususally mom. How sad to see members of our society who have access to so much, seem to care so little. They are taught to be be lazy in every aspect of their life. I know that alot of fmailies are not this way, but in my "corner of the world" I seem to see more than my fair share.

  3. Funny thing to me at this point is that I would love to be the parent that has kids running around outside but I got the one that sees the world in very black and white. Currently there are little scraps of paper ALL OVER MY HOUSE because Gabe has finally discovered the joy of drawing and cutting. Rather than yell at him to contain the mess (A. he wouldn't be able to and B. he would see that as a reason to stop)we let him create his mess. Every night we are picking up trash, but every day I see such improvement in his imagination and creativity. Still can't get him to focus on anything beyond the end of his nose (still can't ride a bike or walk home by himself from the bus stop) but he is getting better....I love it!!

  4. just wanted to say I LOVE your blog. wish more people/parents read it. Just absolutely love it

  5. Part of me really wants to print off your blog and stick it in my students' take home folders on Monday morning! I have so much to say about this but as I typed, it turned into a mini-blog that contradicted itself left and right. Maybe one day I can share it in a way that makes sense. Long story short, I agree with you!