Do you remember playing cowboys and crooks as a child? Or cricket or rounders in the back garden? Do you remember climbing trees and building tree houses? Or making furniture for dolls houses?
Did you ever make your own bows and arrows or build kites and fly them in open fields? Or galloped on a horse so fast that your hair blew in the wind?
When I was a child we did all these things and more. We knew how to entertain ourselves without electronic or adult input. We ran, climbed and jumped. We were healthy and wiry and we learnt how to build and design things.
We used our imaginations to create plays, puppet shows and concerts. We discovered or made secret hideouts under arching trees and overhanging branches.
We found solutions for practical problems and we were physically confident and self-sufficient.
Today children have play stations, computer games, ipods and other electronic toys that keep them indoors, staring at screens for hours at a time. They are not nearly as physically fit or active as we used to be in previous generations and we find that there is a growing and worrying obesity problem everywhere.
To me one of the saddest things is that children in cities no longer know how to climb trees. They may have jungle gyms at school but how many of them have actually climbed a tree?
While we have become slaves to technology our children are paying a hefty price for it.
The best gift that we can give children today is to encourage and help them to be more creative. It’s no use limiting their TV or computer time without providing any enticing alternatives. We need to show them exactly how creativity can be rewarding and more fun.
But we can’t expect them to become interested if we don’t try to be more creative ourselves. Simply telling them won’t cut it either. We have to set the example by being more hands on and involved ourselves.
It may require a change of mindset or even lifestyle. But don’t you think it’s worth it?