Give ‘Em Some Space

By October 9, 2015 No Comments

In a world which has become more flat, people are constantly on the go. There’s little time for rest and relaxation. Having time to sit and think is as rare as a bigfoot sighting. And sadly this is occurring at all age levels. Kids don’t have time to be kids anymore. This week we’ll discuss why we could all use a little more free time in our lives.

Imagine a scene where a nine-year old boy is sitting in a kitchen. He’s there with his mother and he’s staring at a tea-pot on the stove. The boy then goes to the tea-pot and begins to watch the steam as he opens and closes it. Growing frustrated his mother snaps at him, “Why are you wasting your time? Go do something. Be productive.”

This is a true story. It really happened to James Watt and 20 years later he would go on to invent the steam engine which would help usher in the Industrial Revolution. The lesson here can be summed up by this famous quote from J.R.R. Tolkien, “Not all those who wander are lost.”

Kids rarely have time to be kids anymore. It seems as if there are fewer and fewer kids playing outside these days. Their schedules simply won’t allow for it. Parents have good intentions for their children but at times can let personal dreams, goals, and wished override what’s best for the child.

Recently I’ve been taking my 4 ½ year old son to weekly football classes. It’s interesting to see the interactions that some dads have with their sons. Some are laid back while some are pretty intense. My son likes sports but he also likes playing in dirt. He’s also pretty shy at first, just as I was when I was a kid. So we’ll do a drill together (which sometimes takes a little coaxing) and then we run around, chase each other, or play in the dirt until it’s his turn to go again. I can tell from the looks some of the other dads don’t approve or wouldn’t do that with their son. Who cares? Not me. My son’s four. He’s not ready to play football and that’s okay. He can do what he wants and be himself.

In school, recess and playtime continues to be diminished in order to cram in more prep time for standardized tests. In actuality recess time actually makes kids smarter and improves their social skills. (Check out this interesting article).  On weekends, families are busy traveling from one thing to the next. When do kids have time to be kids? When do they have time to “wander” as James Watt did? We need to reverse the current social, scholastic, and family trends which leave our children with little time to be alone, think, and be creative.

The most successful companies, businesses, and organizations allow and embrace free time for their employees. Leaders and managers in these groups give time for creative thoughts and solutions to come to fruition. They don’t micromanage and try to fill every minute of every day. It’s okay to daydream, this is where our best thoughts come from. It’s time we go back to embracing it.

So the next time your child is playing with the door, in dirt, or your employee is daydreaming, do them a favor..Give ‘em some space.

Who knows? They may be the next James Watt  thinking of a great idea which will start a revolution.

As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!


Coach Elmendorf is available to speak to your team, group, or organization. Message him for details.