Daydreaming is one of my favorite activities.
While many people would say that it’s not very productive, I would argue otherwise. It’s in those moments when we are lost in thought that the best ideas arise. (ideas like starting a nonprofit called Thrive Outside!)
I attribute my daydreaming skills to the great amount of unstructured playtime outdoors that I was so fortunate to have as a kid. Remember the feeling of losing track of time? Whether you were engaged in some sort of imaginary adventure, riding your bike, or just looking up at the clouds – the time outdoors with no agenda provided some of the most memorable moments.
One of my high school English teachers used to famously say, “Only the boring will be bored”. I’ve often found myself repeating this quote to my kids (they don’t particularly appreciate it as much!). As a culture I think we’ve become overly concerned with keeping our kids “busy” and engaged in as many activities as possible.
While our children benefit from all of this enrichment, they are missing out on one of life’s greatest gifts – unstructured time to just be themselves, and to even, dare I say it - be bored!
As my teacher was pointing out, it’s in those moments that our creativity and problem-solving skills kick in and we ultimately become more interesting people.
Time outside in particular offers such a stimulating experience; the wind moving through our hair, the sun lighting up a dew-drenched spider web, the aroma of fresh cut grass. It is so rich, that time outside to simply play, daydream, or hang out is considered an essential piece of child and teen development as it builds their capacity for creativity, risk-taking, problem solving and appreciation for our natural world.
After this past year of the pandemic, I think we've all come to appreciate how time is our most precious resource, and our society has collectively slowed down. As we start to return to "normal" I have resolved to protect some of that slower pace and free time for my children.
As I see it - it’s about time that we let our kids daydream and lose track of time outdoors.
Wishing you time to Thrive Outside,
Shannon Rozea is the Founding Director of Thrive Outside