As a parent, it’s very tempting to try to prod our children into useful or enriching activities: play chess, practice piano, play tennis.
But sometimes children want to do things that might look like a big waste of time—and when my children are doing that, I remind myself of the many examples I’ve heard of, where what looked like “wasted time” to an adult ended up being very useful to that child, later in life.
Because of my current obsession with color, I was reading a book called How to Decorate put out by Farrow & Ball, a well-known maker of paints and wallpapers.
This passage I read is from Joa Studholme, who is part of Farrow & Ball’s creative team.
“I had no formal training. I am Farrow & Ball homegrown, nurtured by an astonishing group of people. However, as a child, I did spend an inordinate amount of time rearranging my set of Caran d’Ache crayons to see how different colour combinations worked. My dolls’ house was constantly redecorated and I was always experimenting with colour, painting my ceiling bright yellow to try to fill the room with sunlight or creating cosy spaces in cupboards by painting them dark.”
As a child, did you do something that adults dismissed as “a waste of time” that proved to be no waste? Or have you seen that phenomenon in children you know?
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