Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Joys of the Doing Nothing

Maybe it's the heat wave enveloping the country from coast to coast. Maybe it's the list of things to do during the summer to maintain and build skills that we have included in our blog and which we read on the numerous websites, blogs, and newsletters that we review every day. But there is something to be said -- for both children and adults -- about the joys of doing absolutely nothing.

For children, doing nothing can be a very busy activity. It can mean sitting under a tree and pulling up blades of grass, one by one. It can be climbing into the big empty box from the new refrigerator and thinking about what it might be like to be on the space station. It can be tossing stones into a large puddle or stream and watching them splash.

Grownups can sit for hours and watch the waves break against the shore. They can gaze up at the stars at night -- or on the lights of a city -- and think about the vastness of the heavens.

We've all had the experience where this kind of non-focused activity enhances our creativity and leads to insights and connections we might miss when we are thinking about the tasks in which we are engaged. But on a hot summer day or night, it is also a way to give ourselves and our kids a break from our busy lives. So turn off your computer when you can, find a bench or a tree, and don't do a thing.

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