The other day I was listening to an NPR segment on what the French have on us in terms of raising kids. We all know the Tiger Mom (who is an Amy too, BTW) – now we have French moms to compare ourselves with? Great!
But one of the big differences this speaker/author mentioned was the fact that French parents let their kids get frustrated and bored. They don’t fill their every waking moment with activities, crafts, playdates and noise.
I have to admit, I am a firm believer in not over extending our children – because an over extended kid means an even more over extended parents. Who do you think is planning all those crafts, buying all the supplies, schlepping kids to all those activities?
So let’s talk about white space. Even though it isn’t Word-Up Wednesday – the definition of white space is the portion of a page left unmarked.
In thinking of white space – it can refer to many things – but I think typically it has to do with unassigned appointment in your calendar – with no appointment there is nothing in that time slot – thus – white space. If you color code your calendar (like I love to do) this white space is probably very noticeable.
I also think white space can come in the form of quiet in our minds.
In our society today, it is hard to embrace white space. Every person has his or her own activities and interests. And there are tons of activities and interests to choose from. We are coming and going all the time. We have 500+ TV channels, our cars have radios, satellite radios, DVD players. While standing in line at the bank or grocery store there is a screen showing advertisements or clips from sitcoms. On airplanes we have our own personal monitors to keep us watching something the entire flight. I haven’t even mentioned our iPods and smart phones that keep us plugged into something at all times.
We seek to be active all the time and we are entertained everywhere we go!!!!
And is that so bad? Maybe – maybe not. Staying active is good – being engaged is good.
But here’s a thought. How can your mind be creative and come up with new ideas if your mind isn’t allowed the opportunity to think and drift and daydream.
Two quotes I love:
You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it. ~Neil Gaiman
Television is simply automated daydreaming. ~Lee Loevinger
Here’s a challenge to you (and me too). Create some white space. Be it in your head, on your calendar, throughout your day. It might take some time get used to the quiet and the unplanned – but give it the time — see what comes out of it.
A few ways to create some white space:
- cancel one appointment this week.
- don’t listen to anything in the car or while you go for your run.
- delete all the shows on your DVR. (talk about white space – looking at an empty queue).
- eat dinner as a family at the dinner table – without the radio or TV playing in the background, with no technology allowed.
- take a bath – no music, no reading, just water and soaking.
- watch a sunset or sunrise.
- let the dog take you for a walk – stopping and go as he pleases.
Share with me your ideas and what came out of the white space – – did you gain some inspiration?
One final thought – – don’t let anyone else doing your daydreaming.