Daddy, why?… but why ar? … so why?…
Here are some popular dad’s replies:
- Just because (when dad doesn’t know the answer)
- Don’t know (when dad is too lazy to answer)
- Because the sky is so high (when dad is being sarcastic)
- Can you please stop asking why! (When dad is TIRED of why!)
I must admit I have used some of the above when I was a younger and inexperienced dad! It has dawned upon me that my answer does condition a certain behavior and would impact them in the long run.
MY EXPERIENCE AS A CHILD
Growing up as a child, I recall being a curious child constantly wondering and exploring things around and within me. When I was 4 to 5 years old, I would try to jump from one couch to another, attempting to leap the furthest that I can. The only thing was it wasn’t our couch, it was at my relative’s house. Embarrassingly, I was reprimanded by my aunt and I was labelled as being naughty, jumping here and there. For me at that time, I was merely challenging myself and enjoying my superpower, imagining flying from one building to another, feeling proud of my achievement!
There was another time when I was 6, I was impressed by how Tarzan swung from one tree to another. I decided to imitate his swaggy move. I climbed on a tall stool, tied a rope on a high grill and let out a strong cool Tarzan yell…. “Ooo-wa-ooo-aaooaaooaa-ooo!” I held on tightly to the rope and swung, but the rope snapped, and I fell, injuring my arm! It was a painful lesson. This time, I didn’t get a scolding. Think my parents were too shocked, and the injury was enough to teach me a lesson.
During my secondary years, I found the joy and satisfaction in asking questions, trying to figure out the reasons and connections to what I was learning, especially in school. Unfortunately, I realized very quickly that my innocent questions did kill the cat after all! Again, I found myself being reprimanded by my teachers for being disruptive and seen as challenging the authority when I was merely sincerely curious
I came to realize that to be safe, we needed to conform to the pattern of the world and not shake the boat. We were forced to follow instructions without asking for explanations. We were told that there is a right way and one answer to each question. We were given boundaries that raised fears in us, in hopes to keep us safe and away from the unknown.
AS A RESULT
As a result, we are seeing a generation of good implementers and executers in the workforce, but not so much a problem solver. Employees who do just enough as told and if there are any problems, the best solutions come from the boss. After all, whenever ideas are suggested, they will often be shot down! Hence, might as well conserve energy, be silent and let the person who gave the idea bear the responsibility…usually the boss!
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
Now coming back to the “Why” phase in our children’s development growth. We as parents have a choice to encourage their curiosity or suppress or even kill it.
The report from Lego Foundation puts it this way:
“The creative mindset is an attitude to the world characterized by curiosity, questions, and a desire to play, make and share, which children possess in their early years, but which is often tragically lost in the cultures of schools and workplaces.”
OUR ROLE AS PARENTS
Therefore, I would humbly recommend parents to see ourselves as gardeners, one that may not know how the seed that has been sowed will turn out to be but what we could do is to ensure that we provide a conducive environment to nurture them so that they will blossom healthily.
We want to provide the right stimulation and exposure in life that will encourage curiosity, open mindedness and imagination in different forms whether through play or conversations. This will then create the opportunity to develop social, emotional, physical, and creative skills on top of the cognitive ones. More than that, it will condition a behavior of learning to learn!
“The gardener does not make a plant grow. The job of a gardener is to create optimal conditions.”― Sir Ken Robinson
My friends, what is the current condition of our children’s creative growth and what can we do this weekend to enhance it?
Have fun “gardening”!
Author: Kelvin Chee