By being comfortable with thinking outside of the box, perhaps your son will be one of a billion unsung heroes who quietly and joyfully live their lives with integrity and love.
Does your son have something in common with Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena, Frederick Jones or Don Wetzel? I would be willing to bet he does. If you’re wondering what could possibly be the connection, well, Mr. Camarena invented the color TV, Mr. Jones the air conditioner and Don Wetzel the ATM machine.
Where would we be without our wonderful innovators? Many might tell you that they are simple folk with a passion for science who then had a flash of inspiration, or just got tired of waiting in a bank line one day and imagined a cash dispensing machine. Whether their original concepts are scientific or otherwise, extraordinary ideas come through ordinary people all of the time, and there is the connection to your son.
As the information age enters adolescence, we will look to the practical brilliance of our sons (and daughters) to gracefully navigate us into the future. As their guardians, it is up to us to support their natural ability to daydream, imagine and be creative. By being comfortable with thinking outside of the box, perhaps your son will discover the cure for AIDS, help us enjoy permanently wrinkle-free clothing, or be one of a billion unsung heroes who quietly and joyfully live their lives with integrity and love.
Here are three ideas that you can use to encourage your son to unleash his innate creativity:
Idea #1: Play Mental Hide and Seek
At bedtime, shorten story reading time a bit and invite your son to play mental hide and seek with you. Here are the rules: you both close your eyes. You will be “it” first and count to ten. Your son will hide somewhere in the house (in his mind’s eye). No shrinking and hiding in a bathroom drawer, stay your actual size at first (until you get really good at the game and want to stretch out a bit!). After counting to ten (and both with your eyes still closed), search the house for him. Describe where you are looking and ask him if he is there. Keep going until you find him. Once you find him, then switch where you hide and he counts to ten. Not only is this a fun way to open up the imagination and spend some fun quality time together, it is also a fun way to get him to go to sleep!
Idea #2: Play Guess the Shape
Take turns picturing a shape in your mind: a circle, square or triangle. Have the other guess what you are visualizing while you are “beaming” the image to them through your forehead.
And, perhaps the most impactful one:
Idea #3: Teach your son that taking care of his emotional body is as important as taking care of his physical body.
Just as you teach your son to brush his teeth, explain to him that expressing emotion is normal and healthy. Help him understand that when he safely expresses feelings like sadness, disappointment and anger, he will move through them quickly. When he understands that emotions have a predictable cycle (like ocean waves, for instance), he won’t have to fear them or pretend like he doesn’t feel them. This will empower him, allow his energy to keep flowing, and help him understand that he is authentically lovable.
As famed poet Khalil Gibran wrote in his poem “On Children:”
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday…”
By encouraging your son’s natural talents and abilities, he might be the modern day Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison or George Washington Carver. In the meantime, while his future is in his own hands to create, rest assured that he is poised and fully equipped to respond to any and all opportunities and challenges that arise.
In humble anticipation of being the recipient of your son’s everyday genius, as you participate in some creative and fun mind play with him, not only can he probably teach you a thing or two, in the guise of assisting him, you may be the one who reaps the most benefit!
Are there some creative and imagination-stimulating games you play with your son that you would like to share?
We’d love to hear from you!