Raising a Fun Child

All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
-Pablo Picasso

There is nothing quite so simple as downloading Candy Crush on your tablet and letting your toddler rack up some high scores. Actually, there is – TV channels for kids run cartoons all day long. Modern parents work all day to afford a better life for their children. Grandparents are the best 24-hour daycare.

child-538029_640Are we making a huge mistake?

Saying all children are wonderful is just a lie we have learned to repeat. All children are not wonderful. Some of them are playful, some are pesky, and others are introverted but surprisingly fun to talk to, once you gain their trust. We forgive them a lot, because it is usually not their fault when something goes wrong, but these children will grow up and become regular adults. The adults that actively contribute to society, and the adults that fall to vice, in order to get away from others, or themselves. We can’t shape their future, but we certainly can make sure that they care about their future from a young age.

I have never met an interesting child that will grow into an interesting adult, who wasn’t heavily influenced by their parents. Some parents will overdo the whole afterschool activities deal, but for the most part, a child can’t decide it has interests, unless someone tells them about them, shows them. Music school accepts only up to a certain age. Artists had to learn to break away from theshoulds and the musts when they were little, or else the world would drag them down. The best athletes started when they were small.

Not every child will grow into a top player, but they can grow into intriguing, active, fascinating, and well-read people. It starts with parents, weary as they are, providing answers to the child’s who-what-where-why questions. You may not know the answers, but look them up with your child, grow together. Be the one your child can come to for questions, before it starts looking for them in all the wrong places. When you don’t have time to spend with your child, give them something worth their time. They will come out of a 2-hour TV session unchanged. However, 2 hours spent playing with educational toys, like building blocks and puppets will have them wondering about the bigger things in life. When a child says “I will build the tallest building in the world. On Mars.” you know it has been playing with building blocks, or it recently visited New York. Both are eye-opening, inspirational. When a child plays with proper toys, educational toys, it practically upgrades itself. One day it is pushing itself along on a little balance bike, and the next it is the best in its grade at lacrosse, weaving between its less balanced classmates like a proper, healthy child should. Have you noticed how little kindergarteners huff and puff after climbing a flight of stairs? It is a depressing sight, it makes you wonder if they ever spent more than an hour running around on a field.

We are making mistakes that our own parents perhaps didn’t. Positive parenting is a hotly debated topic, but perhaps the question is not so much about the love we give our children. They are children first. They’ll have time to become commercially-aware citizens later.