This past weekend, I happened upon Silas in the back yard, working as hard as his little shovel and four-year-old body would let him. I asked what he was doing. “Diggin'” was his reply. I asked what he was digging for. “Treasures”. Of course! And on his way he went. I don’t know if his work was rewarded with any finds, he certainly did work hard at his task. Sophie played nearby, helping her doll with gymnastics.
Yesterday, I happened upon Sophie in the living room. I asked what she was doing. “Knitting” was her reply. I asked what she was knitting. “A scarf”. Of course. And on her way she went. She tells me her scarf isn’t finished yet, as there is still yarn for the making. A very long scarf it will be, indeed. (Sophie is using this yarn fork.)
These moments and encounters are such blessings to me. We work hard to reduce (and how I’d love to eliminate) screen time, some days we do better than others. We don’t have cable or satellite, but we do have a subscription service. While we don’t miss watching the overwhelming number of commercials (many that make us squirm at their inappropriateness), sometimes it seems that having a large number of movies and shows at our fingertips to watch any time we’d like instead of when they’re scheduled means we can easily fall into the bad habit of watching more rather than less.
Moments like these, when the Littles find their own work to do without assistance and direction from me, these are the moments that tell me we’re doing the right thing. There’s a treasure in boredom for children, allowing them to find their own task rather than moving to passive entertainment. (There’s a good article about this here, and so many others as well on why we shouldn’t fill every moment of our children’s days with activities and screen time.)