When we were kids, our music teacher asked us after a two-week long break, "What did you do in the break?"
"We played", we said, "We read books, we painted, we climbed trees, we went to summer camps..."
"Oh, I was hoping at least one of you would tell me that you did nothing", she said.
We stared at her open-mouthed.
"Nothing", she repeated, "As in, lying on the floor staring at the fan? Standing outside and observing the clouds? Lolling on the bed and looking at the patterns on the drapes? Or just staring at the ceiling all day? Did you do that?"
"Umm... err..." Was this a trick question? We did not know what to say.
"All that you did is important. But doing 'nothing' is also as important." She smiled. "You are too young to understand, but I'll just tell you that doing 'nothing' breeds creativity. Next time you are bored, try and do 'nothing'. And see how interesting it is."
I thought she was joking, but now I think she has a point.
Kids of today have their days full. So full that they don't have time to watch the clouds or look at the ladybird make its way across the lawn. And what is life without these little pleasures? What is learning and fun without admiring the world around you? Where is the time to let a child's little brain think and imagine and create by itself?
Perhaps we should encourage our kids to do 'nothing' this summer?!