My 9 year old daughter has a fantastic imagination. She plays with her toys and creates fantastic stories and role plays all the time. She’s that kid who loves to play with friends or by her self, it’s entertaining to her in either format.
I had my formal dinning room table dressed for its role of showing off, with candle center pieces and green placemats for each seat. It was more about dress for view not dress for use, because there wasn’t an upcoming occasion for it to be used anytime soon. One day I walked by and my little girl’s imagination took her out of her room and onto the table. There were toys everywhere littering the table!
Parental Debate – This dinning table is expensive and beautiful, she could easily scratch it up. Maybe I should yell and fuss for her to move elsewhere. That is what my mother would have done, you did not messy up the formal areas of the house! The rationale was someone could pop over at anytime and the house was ready to accept visitors with no notice.
My inner child observed what she had done. This was structure, it wasn’t just toys littering my table, she had residents, towns, transportation and cities. The green placemats were yards and parks. It was amazing. I love this about her, her imagination and thoughts are still in the “why not” phase. Guess what this parent did – I let her play and took pictures (although she tidied up the residents for the picture – see below). I mean really, how many times a year do I really use this table? A scratch from the city is a much better story for future dinner parties anyway.
Here is what I learned from my 9 year old:
- Don’t idolize formality just for the sake of formality
- Use your space but don’t be bound by it
- Creativity flows better when you look for opportunities outside of normal
- When it doubt, say “Why Not”
The town she had made apparently is a traveling one, because now it has moved into my formal living room on the coffee table. My husband has taken over the formal dining room table for his start-up company. Am I panicked anymore for visitors to see what some maybe construed as our mess? Nope, it’s a lived in home that has some organized work areas for right now, and we’re okay with that. Would you be if it were your home? Could you step away from the normal use of a formal living or dining room area?
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