Stifling creativity or shaping character?

I’ve started lots of blog posts this past month, and none of them have made the cut.  They’ve either trailed off, been too hard to write, or just been plain boring!

Luke, on the other hand, is having no trouble with his creative writing.  Today, as he was doing his homework, he muttered, “I think I’m going to put in one of these things that you breathe with.”

Huh?  What’s the thing you breathe with? 

“You know mum, it’s the rule about breathing.  They put them in reading books.  But do you know what I’ve done before?”


No, Luke, what?

“Well, sometimes, when I’m reading, I skip right past the order to breathe and I DON’T TAKE A BREATH.  Though then I really have to breathe by the time I get to the end of the sentence. So I know the writer was right to put it there, and I am putting one in my sentence so everyone knows to breathe.”

Well if that’s the worst rule breaking he does in life, I’ll be very surprised!

It’s a fair reflection, isn’t it, of how our kids grow up?  They test boundaries, break rules, rage against constraints and engage in a regular battle of wills, but ultimately they understand that most rules are there to guide them.  Or maybe that’s just the Sellars boys!

In particularly tough or relentless parenting times, I  wonder why we bother with discipline.  I mean, most children ultimately grow up fine, don’t they?  So why reiterate the same old rule (whatever it happens to be in that instance) when I could just leave them to it and avoid the fall out?

Why indeed!?  Partly because of how I was parented (not that my kids would believe that as Granny and Grumpy Dave spoil them rotten).

IMG_8518_1000x1333Having clear boundaries and consequences, even if I resented them or was embarrassed about them, gave me a strong framework for how I should behave, relate to other people, and approach new or challenging situations.

Although I still get things wrong, I know what’s expected of me and I know that it is important to put things right.  That’s how my sister and I do relationships because we saw it modelled for us.

So that has to apply to how I relate to the boys too, and not just in the setting and enforcing of boundaries.

For example, I have been known, in my fury, to ban them from using the iPad til they are 10.  Clearly that’s not a ‘good choice’, and I have to eat my words!!  However, I hope that seeing how I (occasionally…) back down and apologise to them for my own bad behaviour shows how they can go about about saying sorry and putting things right when it’s needed.

IMG_6889_1000x749This past weekend we had the privilege of going back to Bicester to celebrate the marriage of two dear friends.  Kris and I have spent many hours over chocolate and tea encouraging one another in our parenting, worrying about how to get it right, and generally being bemused about bringing up sons.  The shared laughter and tears a testament to how open we were about our failings and our joys!

And one of those joys was watching our four gorgeous boys have fun together at the wedding this weekend.  They picked up where they left off, and exhibited lots of those character traits we strive to nurture and encourage in them.

It’s a tough job, but it’s worth it in those moments!

Wedding Celebrations

Oh, the beautiful paper flowers in the header photo?
The bride’s bouquet, handmade by her (creative) self.
And the fabulous fabric brollies hung in the marquee are full of cheer,
so are here for no reason other than to brighten the blog!

2 thoughts on “Stifling creativity or shaping character?

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