The Minnesota Children’s Museum had a drastic remodel. They’ve done a great job at press so its been shared a lot and I am not going to spend my time today on the details. However, if you are in the area you should definitely check it out.
I’m going to spend my time today on what I learned and what I hope to grow from my experience there.
This lesson came at exactly the right moment. I guess these children’s play experts really know what they are doing. My daughter was spending quite a bit of time at one specific exhibit. It wasn’t one that I really loved so I sat back against the wall impatiently waiting for her to get bored. I played on my phone while mild interest for something to do. About the time that I was going to suggest we move along, I saw a sign.
I saw a sign? Did this blog just go off the deep end? No, I literally saw a sign. Here is what I love about this message. I was about to suggest to my daughter, who was independently playing with kids she didn’t know, that we go do something else. I’m not a parent who thinks that I need to be present and mindful every waking moment of my child’s life but at the same time stopping and looking for what she found interesting in this experience was powerful. What was she learning by moving boxes around? Look at my clingy girl playing with other kids and taking turns! Look at her deciding what she likes to do and doing it.
I could take a lot of time and digress into parenting guilt. The guilt of always telling our children to hurry up and herding them along to something else to do. People have covered this so I am not going to.
Here is what I learned from that sign at the children’s museum. We should all give ourselves grace to do what we like and to spend our time doing it. How often have I gotten up from reading a really good book because I should be doing something else? Or cut outdoor time short because I should be inside tackling the to-do list? Obviously things need to get done at some point and I would much rather read than do the laundry. But I think we too often judge ourselves for not being productive. What if we kept looking for the reasons why we are so into something? Maybe that lazy outdoor time is a mindfulness exercise? Maybe that book is a brain challenging activity? Maybe we just need something more in our lives than to-do lists?
Okay, maybe I am going off the deep end. We try to give grace to our children to play and learn and develop. We forget that we need to play and learn and develop. We can’t do that if we’re moving from one to-do list checkmark to the next.