Seeing things from the other side of the looking glassFeb 29th, 2012 | By admin | Category: Creative Kids, In Every Issue, Live and Learn
Seeing things from the other side of the looking glass
by Lu Lewis and Edna Varner
Everybody has a list — losing weight, gaining confidence, improving relationships, or saving money at the supermarket. We recently discussed a US News and World Report article, “50 Ways to Improve Your Life.” The tips were worth the price of the magazine; now you can Google the article and get the tips free.
You can Google “50 Ways…,” and find suggestions for everything imaginable: “50 Ways to Help the Planet”; “50 Ways to Use Bacon”; “50 Fun Things to Do with your iPod”; “50 Ways to Beat the Reaper”; and the lyrics to Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.”
We wondered why so many of us are still hoping to find something we don’t already know. A better question may be, “Why haven’t we improved our lives by doing the 50 things we do know? Perhaps the answer lies in lines from a familiar tale, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:
Alice: And how many hours a day did you do lessons?
The Mock Turtle: Ten hours the first day, nine the next, and so on.
Alice: What a curious plan!
The Gryphon: That’s the reason they’re called lessons, because they lessen from day to day.
We decided to try looking at things from the other side of the looking glass where each day “the lessons lessen.” Here are two to think about this month.
Lu’s lessons for helping children enjoy childhood:
You don’t have to live in Alice’s wonderland to make a world of wonder and creativity for your child. With so many rules and routines it’s no surprise some children are stressed before they finish kindergarten. Take some family breaks from the day-to-day and give your children the gift of serendipity.
Lesson #1: No Directions
Allow your child to create something from everyday objects—no directions, no plans, no right answers. Spend the afternoon in the yard, collecting whatever strikes their fancy. Bring in the treasures, put them on a table with safe scissors, glue and crayons, and let them create. On a rainy day, the stuff of invention can be paper clips, buttons, pieces of yarn, or the “thing-a-magig” you keep in a drawer, even though no one quite remembers what it is.
Lesson #2: Something Silly
Alice in Wonderland is full of nonsense, yet it is still read, performed, studied and enjoyed by old and young alike. Some parts are downright silly, but silly is good. Give your child the gift of silly. Books that make children laugh uncontrollably are the best; the reduced stress, the physical activity from rolling hysterically on the floor, and the loss of interest in television are all bonuses. There are lots of great children’s books with nonsense stories and rhymes. Start with Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods That Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell.
The two of us have long embraced change, but we think it may be better in smaller doses, so we are taking the wisdom of the Mock Turtle and the Gryphon to heart. If you find that 50 ways to do anything is a bit ambitious, feel free to join us here on the other side of the looking glass.