Mom, Please Entertain Your Kid's "Crazy" Ideas
Updated: Nov 22, 2021
If you have kids, there's no doubt in my mind that you've heard some pretty outlandish ideas from your little ones. They seem to have no sense of possible vs. impossible. I know it can be exhausting to entertain, and because of that, I've seen so many mamas intentionally or unintentionally kill that spirit in their kid(s). I've made a conscious effort in trying to not be dismissive of my babies' ideas. I'm not perfect at it, but when I catch myself, I do try to help them make their ideas a reality.
Why It Matters
There are going to be so many times, in your child's life as they grow, that they'll have ideas they're excited about shot down, ridiculed and dismissed, that it's important to teach them how to believe in their ability to make something others see as impossible become reality. Whenever they have an idea and someone else in the house laughs at it, calls it dumb or just says they can't do it, I see it as my personal mission to help them see it through. It not only helps the kiddo with the idea feel they've achieved the "impossible" but it teaches the child that tried to discourage them that maybe they shouldn't be so quick to dismiss the ideas of other people. "If you can dream, it you can achieve it." I want them to believe that so deeply that the surface level attacks they'll undoubtedly face on their innovation won't shake them. I know it may seem trivial compared to some of the serious things we need to do for our kids as parents... like...you know, keep them alive? However, providing that we are doing that part okay, I do think it's a beautiful thing to give your children, the gift of confidence in their ideas and the ability to make those ideas a reality.
Check out this quick interesting video on raising creative kiddos and why it's important!
Now, I'm not just a psycho out here trying to make the impossible, possible. I too hit them with "we can't do that," and the occasional "OMG, let it go" These responses along with a few others are used on two occasions. I'm either tired, or in the middle of doing something, and let's face it while nothing is impossible, some things are just not going to happen at that exact moment or are so close to impossible its not going to happen at all. I want to give you some tools that I've tried using instead of shooting their ideas down. If I'm tired or busy, I will tell them that it's a really neat idea, but maybe we can think about it a little later when I am finished doing ________/relaxing. Finally, if it's just something that isn't going to happen like jumping on clouds or being the captain of a ship, I'll encourage them to pretend, have fun with it or I'll explain to them why it can't realistically happen, but still encourage the creativity.
Most Recent Example
I was trying to teach myself how to make a balloon garland (which I totally killed btw) and as soon as I completed it, Emery excitedly says, "we can use this for daddy's BIRTHDAY PARTY." My immediate response was to laugh at her sweetness and tell her that we can't throw a party for daddy because it wasn't even close to his birthday. She continued to set up her stuffed animals and talked about his party all day. The older kids playfully laughed at her setting up this party and even when she told Andy that she was planning his birthday he just laughed and said, "well thank you sweetheart." When bedtime came around she was so disappointed because we "didn't do daddy's birthday." In an effort to stay on schedule and avoid tears during bedtime I said, "ohhh well let's just do it tomorrow" and she agreed.
The next morning comes, the older kids go to school, and soon after I hear the pitter patter of her chubby little feet coming down the stairs. She was dressed to impress in her best party outfit and went right to planning. It hit me like a ton of bricks! Why am I putting societal norms on my 4 year old? If she wants to have a party to celebrate her daddy why could we not make that a reality? Why am I telling her that the only "appropriate" time to celebrate his birth is once a year, and only within a certain window around the exact day? I looked at her and said, "Emmy? Do you wanna throw your dad a party? Let's do it!" She jumped up and down with excitement and I took her to get her some beads for her hair so she could get all dolled up. Then we went to the store to get a cake mix to make for him, and made a craft for his gift (after all why would I buy a real gift for his fake birthday) haha!
When Andy came home from work he went for a run and by the time he came back, we had it all set up, and we even got the big kids in on the surprise. He opened the door and we all screamed "SURPRISE!" He scooped Emery up and I was able to get some of these adorable pics from a moment that neither of them will soon forget. It truly was THE BEST surprise party because there was NO WAY he saw that coming! The moment filled all of our hearts with joy and Emery had never been more proud of herself. I was so blessed to be a part of helping her grow her confidence in her abilities and maybe opening her realm of "possible" a little more that day!
Give it a Try
All that to say, try letting your kids teach you a thing or two about what's possible and what isn't. We let the world put parameters on what is acceptable or possible, we take it on as truth, and if we aren't careful we can push those falsehoods onto our children. Anything is possible if you want it bad enough; even if you have to achieve it on a make believe trip to outer space. One of the greatest joys in being a parent is the privilege of being able to re-experience the world through their eyes. To see hope, love, and possibility in things that we may have lost hope, love or belief in. What a beautiful thing to be able to live again.
Just my thoughts,