At first I didn’t think day two of project “improve Griffin’s writing IQ” wasn’t as interesting as day one but as the day progressed I found out I was totally wrong.
Today he wrote, “I like to play.” Not as insightful as I wanted him to be at first but when you dive into that sentence with my amazingly creative son, you find that it means a whole lot more than it appears to mean. I didn’t choose to ask him to elaborate but instead I observed how he played the rest of the day.
First, he played with his GI Joe’s. He did the normal battle scene where some men survived and others did not. Nothing new here. Then, things got interesting as they always do with Griffin. He got the diaper box from Amazon from the recycle bin, cut a door into the side and started driving cars into it and setting up a little garage. He also had his GI Joe men going in and out of this new toy he had created.
I have always loved his creative play and been amazed at what he can turn into a toy. For instance, he recently got all of my q-tips out of the box and made them soldiers. He has also made swords out of paper and aluminum foil and set up battles between the two.
All of that being said, it made me realize that his simple, “I like to play” sentence isn’t all that simple. The act of playing is defined as engaging in activity for enjoyment or recreation. Griffin’s definition of play is more complex. It is creative, ingenuitive, and limitless. He plays hard and truly uses his brain to make up incredibly games that I can’t even begin to create. He loves playing so much that I have multiple pictures of him sleeping with his favorite toy of the day after a long day of learning and playing. Tonight, as you see, he fell asleep with a GI Joe character clutched in his hand. I’m so lucky to have this child!
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Everyday when Griffin goes to his summer camp at Open Arms preschool,
his teacher, who is also the incredible director of the school, asks
him to sign in. She is pretty creative so she doesn’t just ask the
kids to sign their names, but she has them answer a yes or no question
and sign either on the “No” sheet or the “Yes” sheet. Most days it is
something simple like, “did you brush your teeth” or “do you have any
pets” but this past week she was asking them if they liked the Magic
School Bus or if they wanted certain characters to teach class that
day. I really appreciate her creativity here but we all know that this
is just the beginning of the requirement to “sign in” or put yourself
into a category everywhere you go. I’m not upset by her activity but
I’m just saying it made me think.
Now, I know my son, and I know he doesn’t dislike the Magic School Bus
but when asked if he liked it he signed “no”. It’s not the fact that
he signed no that made me think, but more importantly it was HOW he
signed no. He walked over to the sign in sheets, asked me which sheet
was the ‘no’ sheet, and while signing his name he giggled and gave me
his mischievous smile. He and one other child signed “no”. The “yes”
sheet was filled with names just like every other day. He did this a
few days in a row and it made me realize something. Even though I knew
Griffin was being somewhat rebellious by signing no to questions just
for the sake of signing no, I realized that he was trying to express
his individuality. He didn’t want to be like everyone else even though
his answer would typically be yes to most of those questions.
As parents who have been raised in a society that many times frowns
upon being different, our gut instinct is to encourage our kids to
follow the crowd. I even had to stop myself when I wanted to question
Griffin’s choice to sign no. Thankfully I didn’t discourage him and
his “rebellion” reminded me that it’s ok to choose the path less
traveled and it’s imperative that I foster his individuality and
creativity. Do YOU like the Magic School Bus?
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