I see around me a constant effort on the part of parents to do a most insane thing: create magic in the lives of children.
It could be that I am just overworked and underslept and hate adding more activities to my overwhelmed life. Maybe I am making excuses for my laziness. But the more I think about it, the more I find it ridiculous for adults to work so hard trying to make childhood magical.
I see parents throwing outrageous themed parties, activities, occasions, playgroups, and events. All adult created, crafted, and manufactured “magic” for the sake of children.
All such activities seem to involve massive adult time commitment, effort, money, and let’s face it – stress.
I know I have become a grumpy old woman (at the tender age of 35 no less) but I don’t really need more stress in my life. At this point I am trying to figure out a way to inject myself with essential oils so that I can stop hatching plans for stealing psychotropic drugs in my free time to manage my stress, “naturally.” (Kidding. Kidding. You don’t need to message me about how you shouldn’t eat, much less inject, essential oils. I won’t do it.)
Every time I try to “create magic” for my children I just end up more broke, more stressed, and…yelling. Yes, I admit- I yell when I am stressed. It isn’t right and it isn’t pretty.
After a few years of watching children, I have also discovered that crafted magic is quite unnecessary for them. Children create their own magic in the world. They see it everywhere. No special activities required.
Think about the life of a modern day, Westernized child. Think back to when your children were new. What did they notice?
A fresh child will find magic in every ceiling fan. A baby will be fascinated by the light switch on the wall which, with a simple flick, brings the brightness of noonday in the dead of night.
Even adult humans 200 years ago would have found this miraculous!
A child today can walk into a grocery store and see entire cases dedicated just to berries. Half a dozen varieties, flown in from around the country and world are stunningly displayed. We take this for granted as spoiled adults, but this is crazy! Most of the world lacks this ever present variety.
The television, the hand held phone, the tablet- all with moving people trapped inside of them who appear and disappear at the swipe of your finger. Children recognize this technology for what it is- magic.
10 years ago this was miraculous to most adults but we quickly forget!
The wonder of books, the beauty of a fresh box of crayons, the prickly stubble of a growing beard on daddy, the polished toe nails of a well cared for female foot, a soft carpet underneath your bare toes, the rolling wonder of the ocean, the scrape of sand on your skin- I have seen children fascinated by all of the above things that adults take for granted. (Though I must admit I am pretty impressed with myself if my toenails look fancy. Being a mom starts to make little accomplishments a miracle.)
If you are an adult and you really want to “create magic” for your children AND it brings you joy- then go right ahead. But I don’t have the energy or the time. I don’t want to spend my evenings stressed and overwhelmed doing something that doesn’t need to be done. The older my children get, the more I want to strip down the extras in my life and focus on the necessary.
Your children don’t need you to create magic for them.
Children are magic.
Adults should spend less time rushing around trying to create wonder for their kids. Instead, we need to sit back, be still, and watch these babies.
We will find something truly magical – we will start to remember how wonderful the world around us already is when we see it through the eyes of a child.
Look up at the sky.
Watch a cloud roll by.
Remember that magic is all around you. Especially in the eyes of your children.