There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.” ~ Calvin to Hobbes ~ Bill Watterson
Some days it feels so good to put the to-do list away and take time to do nothing in particular. Of course we still breathe and eat and sleep, so we aren’t actually doing nothing, but the delicious extravagance of unscheduled time is a luxury many do not often allow themselves. We feel the need to be doing something, anything, that we can look back at and say, I crossed that item off my list. As we go-go-go we then impose that on our over-booked children as well. How many times has your child had to choose between one activity and another because there just wasn’t enough time to fit everything in?
Teaching our children the art of appreciating down time, simply sitting and observing and taking in the world around them. A trip to the park that does not involve soccer, or elaborate preparations; just a walk down the block to swing or not, to mosey rather than hurry, to just slow the pace to know how that feels. We owe it to our children to teach them the value of quiet that does not involve study, but just the simplicity of being.
At each stage of life these moments of doing nothing seem hard to find. But in the end, will it matter if the floor was swept 1000 times or 1000 and one? One can always find something to do, but it may also be an excuse to avoid paying attention to the quiet. Discovering the inner peace that comes with mindfulness and the sheer joy that comes from free spontaneous play are gifts we give our children when we allow them to do nothing at all. And in that nothing grows imagination, observation, love of the natural world and the ability to be self- entertaining.
We all deserve our down-time, our doing nothing moments. Breathe and jump in a pile of leaves.