|Posted on July 23, 2013 at 11:35 PM|
In my last blog, I highlighted how parents play a role in planting the seed of creativity in their children by being inevitable role models. In this blog, I am highlighting how parents can help to mould and also respect opinions expressed by children.
Opinions matter in anything we say, write or do. Without an opinion, any creative piece, be it a drawing; a poem; a play; an article or even a speech will be deemed to be lacking expression.
A school in Singapore last week organised a father and son weekend camp. A father who went for this camp told me how useful this was for him. Just to have quality father-son time was indeed a rare treat especially when fathers are usually very busy at work.
He said: "I learnt so much about parenting - I wish I had this activity with my older son!"
One particular activity that he mentioned was clearing an obstacle course with his son. Apparently, the dads and sons were put in groups of four and five and they had to clear a particular obstacle course with given parameters and time frame. All the fathers got together and they worked out a strategy on how best they can clear this obstacle. They then instructed how this strategy would be carried out and what roles they would play and how the sons can chip in and help them clear the obstacle. And most groups cleared the obstacles quite quickly and effectively.
When they had the debrief, the coach asked the groups how the exercise was and the response from the fathers were happy how they worked with their sons to clear the obstacle course. The coach then asked the fathers how many of them consulted their sons in coming up with the strategy. "None of the groups consulted their sons" was the popular answer. The coach then asked the fathers why none of them chose to ask their sons on how to clear this obstacle. And that got all fathers thinking..yes, they should have asked how the sons would clear this obstacle.
You see, the point of the exercise was not to clear the obstacle...it was to engage with the sons to learn about how the sons would clear the obstacle and to listen to their ideas and opinions on matters.
And this applies to school or creative work too. Think about: How often have you asked your child what his or her opinion on a matter has been? How often have you asked your child how he or she would do a particular piece of work? How often have you suggested how the work should be done? It is not wrong to offer our suggestion...but it would work better if you have an idea on how they feel about an issue or a matter.
Asking the child for their opinion actually lifts their self esteem. They realise that their opinions matter. They realise that their ideas are worth talking about. And that they are not shut down or shut off for expressing an opinion. Believe me, the damage you do by expressing for your child is long term. The goodness of getting your child to have an opinion is also long term.
As parents and adults, we can always guide them to express appropriate opinions to suit the purpose of the exercise. Sometimes, kids say the darnest things. This can be owing to a variety of reasons: attention seeking, lack of exposure, just for fun or because they are very linear in their train of thoughts. To most kids, things are Black or White. They only learn about the colour Grey from us- Adults.
So it is good to encourage them to express their Black and White opinions from young and to slowly mould them to think about how best they can express their thoughts out loud, on paper, through colour, with words and actions.
I hope these tips come in useful. Do feel free to send me your comments as there is never a right or wrong answer...it is just an opinion.
Dr Puva Arumugam
Categories: Creative chats