I've been thinking about this one for a while. Lately with the lack of outside influences, it feels like we moved to a remote island and we don't know anybody... oh wait... that's exactly what we did.
The days are ours to fill... or more specifically not to fill. And that's an interesting question: To do, or not to do?
There have been times since moving here that I've been anxious and stressed about the lack of outside activities we're involved with... no play dates or book clubs or sports.
My instinct is to keep my children busy, and not just with external activities. There is their schooling of course, and they are also a great help to me with chores, babysitting, errands, etc. I'm always thinking, "What else should we be doing?" Evidently nature isn't the only one that abhors a vacuum.
But, I have to stop trying to keep us all constantly in motion. I need to allow my children to get bored. To have nothing to do. To say things like, "Mom! There's nothing to do... I'm bored... !"
Because I'm learning that sometimes they need an absence of things to do... a vacuum.
Because something important happens when there is nothing to do...
They fill the vacuum.
Initially they might reach for the television, or a movie, or a video game to fill their time. But if that isn't available (or it's off limits), then they're left to their own imagination.
I've been amazed lately at what my children are finding to fill their vacuum.
They have been working together. Nicely. They've been writing scripts and exploring Stop Animation. They read and discuss books together. They've been building Lego contraptions and exploring science projects. And they are learning. Really learning. The kind of learning that comes from exploring things that they are truly interested in!
All of this comes from them looking for something to do. Because I haven't filled our day with things to do. I didn't fill the vacuum. I allowed them to.