Sometimes it’s easy convincing families of a child’s right and need to play…… And other times it can be particularly difficult. There is so much pressure out there on families – and let’s face it…… all any parent wants (generally), is what is best for their child! There are companies that want to produce “learning tools”, things to give children a “head start”, things that pressure children to perform. They are making a buck, at the expense of our children’s well-being, and at their future!
I think we’ve been so lucky up until now. One of the greatest tools I know I’ve been able to use, when really convincing parents of the value (oh heck, let’s say what it really is – the NEED) for young children to engage in free play, outdoor play, connecting with nature…… is to get them to go back to their own childhoods. People remember the joy and the freedom of being a child. They draw on those memories to build their desires for their own children. And for those of us “in the know” – aka those of us who devote our lives to researching best practice and advocating for young children – well, for those of us – it’s not JUST about building lovely memories…… it’s about making sure that children have the chance for their little bodies and minds to grow and develop…… it’s about nurturing the next generation of young adults.
We speak heavily of the generation of young adults that is forming currently. Their inability to think for themselves, to use initiative, to even have (dare I say the word) “common sense”! We jest about the way that common sense, is not so common these days. And we would be right! But how has this come to be? How did this generation of young adults grow up? How did they spend their childhoods?
So THIS…… this is what scares me. What happens when these are the parents we are trying to convince? When we talk with them about all the magic of childhood – and so many of them will not understand. Those who grew up in the ways that took the world for a while……. Those who grew up in a world of institutional child care…. those who grew up with screens as their best friends…… those who grew up not knowing what it was like to be out from under the watchful eye of an adult, and engaging in things that were ‘frivolous’ or even ‘dangerous’. What happens when these are the parents we are trying to convince of what is best for their children?
We have to make a strong united front…… and we have to do it NOW! Because if we don’t, and we wait until our parent group is that generation – we just might start losing the battle! For there are still many lurking in the shadows who will pounce upon the chance – because that chance is where the money is. There is no money in imagination or creativity…… there is no money in a muddy puddle or a stick……. there is no money in a worm in the garden or a snail on the path……..
So speak up – speak out! Make sure that you help fill the world with the knowledge that you know…….. because for our future – the “money” is all in the child, and it’s waiting to
emerge from it’s cocoon.
DO IT NOW! Before it is too late……..