Recently, my eight year old told me that I’m his greatest challenge in life and that he is tired of challenges, he just wants support. (The topic of our conversation was respect so you might see where he was going with this). I assured him that a challenge is not a bad thing for when we choose our challenges they can stimulate and inspire us. He looked at me disbelievingly, so I picked up the cue to change my language.
He loves lego. He’s been mad about lego building for the past 5 years, and this falls into his top 3 loves at the moment. Here is the conversation that followed:
Mom: When you play with lego, you are doing something that you enjoy, and I don’t have to beg you to do it, right?
Son: Nods his head.
Mom: Do you only build the easy things?
Son: Sometimes and sometimes I like making difficult things. Right now I’m building a dragon that is so big, and I’m doing it all by myself and it is taking me ages, hours, days. T
here are some parts I need to do over because they need to be just right otherwise he won’t move. And he has to be able to move, that’s the point. The enthusiasm experienced while engaging in a loved activity aids the individual to enter into what artists and sports people call ‘The Zone’. The place of manifestation. During this time we have such intense concentration, clarity and vision. Everything around us fades away as we become absorbed and immersed into the moment.
Encouraging our children to follow their hearts and to cultivate a connection with their inner voice gives them personal fulfilment as well as stimulating the brain, enhancing intellect and aiding physical growth. When we love what we do and do what we love our body, mind and soul is nourished. Inspiration causes our mind to say, “This is fun! I love this!” Then our brain reacts with happy neurons sending messages to the blood saying “Hey, come get your boost of the most power packed organic supplement ever, and guess what, its’ free!” The cells absorb this goodness that aids them to release even more and maintain the flow going.
It really is this simple. Dr. John Demartini, human behaviour specialist, explains in his course The Breakthrough Experience that human beings grow most at the border of support and challenge. An activity that a child does because s/he wants to has just the right dose of both. Such experiences are not only gratifying for the moment but have long lasting effects such as increased involvement and enjoyment of learning. In their book, ‘Light up Your Child’s Mind’, Dr. Jospeh Renzulli and Sally Reis discuss how a child whose passions are noted and fulfilled can shine in all other areas of life.
One such case study is about a boy called Ross whose work at school was declining. After spending some time with Ross, they found out that he loved trains. When asked how school could be made more meaningful for him Ross responded by saying he would love to make a movie about the switching station under the bridge. So he did. It took many months and though he missed some classes he willingly made up the work. “Here was the payoff: Ross’s enthusiasm for school increased dramatically, his grades reflected that enthusiasm, and he was later accepted into a highly regarded university.” What does your child love doing? When last has s/he engaged in this activity? How can you make this passion part of everyday life?
With kindled creativity, children learn to deal with, understand and respond positively to challenges of all kinds. Sometimes the solution is not complicated, sometimes it is as simple as enjoying life.