Yesterday we hopped on the train and took a trip to Bohinj lake. Our bikes had the pleasure to join us. Kids were super excited — they love to swim, and lakes are the best because the water is calm and sweet. But to get there, you need to sit on a train for two hours.
No matter how romantic your image of taking kids on a train is; they get bored quickly. They enjoy sounds of rail tracks and moving nature for like one minute and twenty seconds. Then it follows: “Are we there yet?”
Leo’s reaction was: “But I thought you’d find it interesting on a train.”
Kids explanation: “It is interesting, but we want to swim. Is it far away?”
For impatient kids, the ride seemed like never ending journey. They started to tease each other. Strange tones began to appear from their throats. Kids are the most unusual kind of animals: whatever sound you can (and even the one you cannot) imagine they’ll be able to produce. Of course, we became impatient. Especially my brain waves are not pleased with high pitched sounds. It is if someone would repeatedly pressing the highest key on a piano. I want it to stop! The easiest way parents know how to stop it, unfortunately, is with technology.
“Can you give them a cartoon to look at,” I asked Leo with a bit of despair.
“NO!” was his answer. He is not like us normal parents: he is an old school dad.
“They have motion picture right there,” and he showed to the window.
He explained to the kids: “It is a long drive to the lake. But this lake is huge and amazing and is worth it to wait. You can play whatever you want but without this stupid sounds.” Then he somehow repeated the sounds they were making. Yes, we were still on a train full of people: he doesn’t mind. Kids were smiling with embarrassed smiles.
“If you don’t behave properly, we’ll turn and go back home,” he continued. With Leo’s threats is like that: they are for real and kids now it. He will cancel whatever we had planned, to teach them a lesson. After that speech, they were sitting quietly for some minutes, lost in their thoughts. They started to look through the window and point at stuff they saw. Then they started to whisper something in their ears. It sounded like they are making some secret plot. I observed them, and I was pleased. It seemed they were using imagination and they were creating something in their mind. It was much better than to see their blank eyes glued on some screen.
Why am I so obsessed to keep them occupied all the time?
The best ideas they come up with is when they are a bit bored. Of course, they come up with dangerous stuff at that point as well, but they are still creative in the process. They are using their brain in searching a way to entertain themselves. I realized I have to let them find stuff to do. Not just serve them what they should do.
We managed to survive four hours train ride in one day, with letting them activate their imagination. They were physically limited, but imagination doesn’t fail you if you let it flow openly. I have to allow them to not do anything. And I have to give that permission to myself as well. I don’t have to be ‘productive’ all the time. Sometimes I should just sit still like on a train; looking how the world passes by and let my thoughts run freely with it.