Matthew Munson: How the creativity of children can show us the way

Child's play

So, the clocks have gone back (I had my year reminder from my mum, so I knew the date was correct), there was a heavy rain last night, I’ve been to the Cliftonville Farmers’ Market today, and read about Singapore in order to make a couple of lines more realistic in the manuscript I’m currently writing.

Sunday is quite often a fairly relaxing day for me, because I like one day of the week where there are very few expectations placed on me and before the working week starts again with all its demands and competing needs. That’s not to say I won’t do anything on a Sunday, but a leisurely day – even on a blustery and cold one – is a pleasure I’m continually glad of.

But, of course, real life isn’t that compartmentalised, and it’s nice to be reminded of that. As I strolled down to meet my friends who were also going to the farmers’ market, I was reminded of just how diverse Thanet is for things to do. We might not be as busy as London or another big city, but that doesn’t matter; we don’t have to be – we just need things that are interesting and fun.

A lot of my friends have children, and it always astounds me when I hear young people say, “I’m bored. I don’t have anything to do.” You only have to stroll casually around any town to realise that isn’t so; there are libraries to visit in any weather, parks and beaches to visit in good weather, and play areas, cafes, shops, and cinemas for pretty much all weathers.

What do you remember from your childhood? For me, my mind was stretched by game play; we weren’t a wealthy family by any stretch of the imagination, but I had toys that came from a variety of different places and learnt how to develop vast stories in my mind from my books, my spaceships, and my dinosaurs. Anything science-fiction-esque was amazing to my fertile brain.

But I was never a sporty kid or very much into dance, art, or music – I liked listening to the Top 40 on a Sunday afternoon, but that was about the limit of my musical ambition. Young people I know now have a huge variety of interests – one young man, who’s 17, is a video game player of some expertise as well as being a walking encyclopaedia of anything Marvel and DC; his sister, 15, is an interesting young woman with ambitions of midwifery, and to hear her goals expounded with such vitality is fascinating. Their four-year brother likes anything gadgetry, and I feel like a Luddite in comparison.

A five year old I know likes to ask 20,000 questions on why things are the way they are (no complaints from me there), so could well have rebuilt half of the UK in the next 20 years, and his four- year-old sister could well be leading the country by the time she’s 25 if her strong, clever personality is anything to go by.

Perhaps the point I’m making today, via a rather circuitous route, is this; to be bored is to be boring, and children are the ones who can show us the way. They have the ability to broaden their horizons and their minds through books, games, toys, leaves they find in the park, a grain of sand from the beach, or a pebble on the street. We don’t need to seek out huge adventures every day; adventures can be found in the smallest of moments, and we should savour every moment that comes our way … and maybe even create some of them for ourselves. If children can, then so can we.

2 Comments

  1. “To be bored is to be boring”. You are so boring. I realise you think anecdotal comment is enough. The anecdotes have to be at least mildly interesting and the comment/opinion has to be more than trite, virtue signalling cant, I do wish you’d get a job you were good at.

  2. I love the way kids can conjure up a game out of the most boring of tasks. Yet an adult can conjure up a moan and teenagers can take moaning to another level.

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