A German author once wrote:
“Being forced to be alone is one of the most difficult things. But being able to be alone is one of the most beautiful ones.“
For me it is easy to grasp what Hans Krailsheimer meant, for I am an expert in being with myself. Just me. Myself. And I. In fact, I enjoy being alone very much and it has always been like that. As a teenager I often stayed at home, in my room, listening to music and reading or writing. Even at school, it did not represent a problem for me if my friends were not there during the break and I hanged out on my own.
As an adult I consider myself quite reserved as well. Not introverted but reserved and that is something different. I can spend hours with my own thoughts and if I have a good content to read, I can just stay at home and go with the flow. It made me wonder what it is like for children.
As a parent we tend to keep our offspring busy and to offer them all kinds of activities that promote their development: games, puzzles and toys. Our own unability to be alone and “to sit around” is immediately projected in our children and we are constantely keeping them busy. But by doing that we are imposing our own expectations about how free time should be spent. We are not really allowing them to find out what they are able to do and what they like to do… and that is not helping them in their development.
Some of us – parents – even feel guilty if we only sit in the living room reading a newspaper and not playing with our kids… so we keep stimulating their creativity by offering them fun activities at home. That is perfectly fine and it can be a lot of fun. BUT it is what happens when we are not the ones suggesting something that can be even more exciting!
I love watching my son playing on his own without any interference. He makes up his own role plays and immitates different voices. He gets immersed in his own fantasy world and he does it all based on what his creative mind has to offer. It is fascinating and sometimes (on good days) this is all we do in the afternoon. Just stay home. Do nothing. Let it flow and leave the cold outdoors 🙂