Saturday, August 4, 2012

Simplicity Parenting, Revisited

Beach Boy

I followed little Julien around on the beach tonight, watching him turning driftwood and feathers into tools for digging, sweeping, and vacuuming.  I admired the joyful, natural concentration he brought to his "work" and his intuitive ability to use the simplest objects as playthings.

Building

Digging

Big and Little

When Amabel was four years old, I wrote a blog post entitled "simplicity parenting," inspired by the well-known book of that name.  My simplicity parenting post was centered around cleaning Amabel's room, taking things away and removing clutter from her space.  

Although getting rid of clutter is an important part of the simplicity parenting idea, I think I sort of missed the point when I first wrote about it; because at the heart of "the extraordinary power of less" isn't really what we take away, but what we make room for.

Watching Julien and our girls on the beach tonight, I was reminded of this.  I was reminded that the beach is among the "simplest" places to play, providing the "simplest" materials—water, sand, sticks, and stones—and yet it is among the richest of places too.  Rich because it allows us the space to imagine—and thereby create—almost anything.  Simplicity parenting, as I understand it now, is about providing our children with space (actual physical places, as well as emotional peace and unhurried time) so that they can bring deep attention to their work (or play, as it may be)—whatever form their work might take.  

Julien was so utterly absorbed in his world on the beach tonight.  Watching him play in that world was a like a gift for me, as I continue to think about how we maintain our home and spend our time as a family.  In an ongoing effort to give us all a bit more space for the things that matter most, I wonder how I can help make our home a little more like the beach?
  
Boy and Dog

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