I can hear them outside of my office window running through the backyard screaming, whispering plans on where to hide. Darts of the faint flashlights are shining here and there. Giggling and then silence as they play flashlight tag. It’s a perfect summer night with a slight chill in the air and no humidity. They are running like children uninhibited and laughing in the moment. Two of my four children are having their best friend’s over for a sleep over and my other children were also included in the game.
All the sounds and lights take me straight to my backyard when I was ten years old. We ran outside and played tag, kickball, kick the can, manhunt, and ghost in the grave yard…you name it we played it. Parents want to know what their children need, what are children lacking today? They are lacking the opportunity to run outside and play in the yard, not an organized game they practice 3 nights a week but a game that the other children make up and tell them right before the game begins. Creativity is not born from endless hours of staring at a video game or computer screen. Creativity comes from thinking and acting spontaneously, freely outside where there are fewer limits and more options.
As a parent of four children I know this world is a frightening place filled with kidnappers, insane people and just all the evil that seems to lurk around each corner. But the more we enclose our children the more we instill our fears into their lives. Yes, they need to be aware and taught what to do but then let them play and not live in fear. My kids are playing in the dark with partners and limits on how far to run but they are having an excellent time out there being children. You can sit on the porch and watch them to make sure they are safe but let them go outside and play. As parents we need to give them the opportunity to be creative and just simply play.