Is it nothing to be happy? Of course we want our kids to be happy. And yet, we worry. I get it. I do. I have been there myself. But I truly believe we need to give them time to run, play and be happy.
We worry. It is understandable because we love our boys.
- We worry that they are doing “nothing” all day.
- That what they are interested in will not prepare them for the future.
- That they are wasting their time playing on the computer.
- That they will not learn what they need to know before it is too late.
But we really need to stop and think . . . Is it nothing to be happy? Is it ever really too late to learn something? Is worry even productive?
Making sure our boys’ learning lives are a priority is a main focus of our site. If we want to raise boys who love to learn we also need to make sure that they are happy.Long ago I ran across this quote from the 1700s and I loved it from the first time I saw it. Read it and take it in. Think about it and make some changes.
You are worried about seeing him spend his early years in doing nothing. What! Is it nothing to be happy? Nothing to skip, play, and run around all day long? Never in his life will he be so busy again.
~Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1762
Think a bit about this quote and relax. They are being children–and that is perfectly all right. It is who they are. We seem to forget that – they are children. They are not little adults. They do not need to spend all of their precious time as children preparing for the future. They need to be children. Remember, they only get one chance!
As far as the claims I hear all too often from parents complaining that their children are doing nothing . . . I can assure you they are most certainly not doing nothing, they are busy. They are doing something that matters to them. They are playing and learning and this is what they are meant to be doing at this time in their lives.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s quote is from 1762. Just think. For this long (and longer) parents have worried about their children spending too much time playing. Yet, so much research shows that play is the very foundation of learning. Through play, they learn.
I think we need to stop spending so much of our time worrying and start spending more of it enjoying the short period of time our boys are young. Show them that you value who they are by letting them run around and play, by letting them follow their passions. Give them as much free time as you possibly can. Drop organized activities if you have to free up some time. Make the effort to clear the calendar so they can play.
Please don’t tell them they are doing nothing all day. That is simply not true and to be honest, it is very hurtful to hear that what you want to do is seen as unimportant. They are learning.
- They are learning about themselves, about their thoughts, and their feelings.
- They are learning about their bodies, free movement, and how confident they feel when they get part way up the tree.
- They are learning about nature, how the sun warms their face, how the sand feels beneath their feet.
- They are learning about persistence and dealing with frustrations and so much more . . .
- They are always learning.
Give your boys time to be happy, to run around, to skip, play and laugh all day.
Is it nothing to be happy? It is everything! Join them 🙂
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Here are a couple of other posts you may like: Life is a Musical Thing and Tell Your Boy How Unique He Is.
Tuesday 16th of June 2020
thank you for this post.....I am not sure how old your children are but I have a 15yr old.....who wants to game....I don't consider this play.....am I being old fashioned? Somedays I feel like I should let go and just let him game as much as he feels like...
Friday 26th of June 2020
Hi Tracey, I hear you, I understand not considering video games play. When I think of play, I do tend to think more of offline, open-ended activities. It is a changing time. I have been torn on this issue myself. I do, now, think there is an element of play invovled in gaming and I know that my son has gotten both a lot of enjoyement and been able to learn a lot through the games he has played. I don't see the issue of how one spends their time going away anytime soon. As the computer has given way to laptops, then tablets and phones we have all spent more time online and on screens. I think the key is always going to be balance. I hope that helps a bit. You know your son and how much both of you will feel comfortable with him being on. Best wishes and thanks for the excellent question. It is a tough question that doesn't have one answer, that is for sure.
Tuesday 7th of March 2017
i love this quote but getting confused with the meaning of "Never in his life will he be so busy again."
Sunday 12th of March 2017
I believe he is saying that the child will choose to have a multitude of things he wants to do and that he will be truely engaged and busy doing those things. It contrasts the section of the quote that alludes to adults thinking that children are not doing anything of importance (being busy doing things that matter) when they are playing.
Friday 9th of October 2015
What a truly amazing post! it's sometimes hard to remember that having fun and enjoying themselves, helps children develop! Thankyou so much for sharing this with me on #busydoinglife
Saturday 10th of October 2015
Thank you so much Claire. I really appreciate your kind comment. It can be hard to remember that. Especially when the pressures of society creep in! But it really is true.
Wednesday 7th of October 2015
I am one generation removed from most of other bloggers, I am a grandparent.IMO parents are burning out their children by sending them to this that and the next thing most nights of the week and then more stuff at a weekend. What is wrong with letting them be "bored" for their imaginations to kick in, for them to find their own amusement and grow up grubby along the way? We used to spend many a happy hour in a play park, swings, slides climbing frames were all use for hide and seek or tig or kiss chase. Add a ball and we could have even more fun. We were never bored, its a word that never entered our vocabulary ( maybe because if we were that there was always something in the house needing done) Imagination needs time to develop and grow and learn as it goes, children need to learn by their mistakes and fall out of the odd tree or off a climbing frame, they need to assess the risk and complete the challenge. Failure leads to learning. I feel we are building a generation that feel it is wrong to come home from school and chill, what impact is that going to have on them as adults when they then feel they cannot come home, kick the shoes off and read a book/watch tv/do nothing because it has been instilled in them from a young age you just do not do that, leading to them burning out and being unable to function at all.
Thursday 8th of October 2015
I agree with you Elaine. There are too many outside activities and adult controlled activities and it is taking precious time away from children. Time they need to use for free play and for using their imaginations. Thank you for your thoughtful response. I enjoyed reading what you had to say and I'm sure others will as well.
Sunday 4th of October 2015
What a great post! And so true. I think we always worry about parenting and spending time with our kids. Getting balance is so important. Letting them just be and play by themselves doing nothing is so important too! Clearly parenting doesn't change much!
Tuesday 6th of October 2015
Thank you Orlena! Yes, I thought the same thing - so long ago this quote was written and here we are today worrying about the same things. I'm so happy that you took the time to visit :)