Learning About Resourcefulness
I like to carry a gigantic, magic purse stuffed full of snacks, games, markers and anything that I would ever need should my family and I encounter any kind of problem. However, by swooping in and rescuing my kids, I am neglecting to let them learn to make do, practice positive problem solving and figure out solutions with limited resources. I have to remind myself that my job as a mom is not to always be there to rescue them, but to teach them skills—like resourcefulness—that they need to survive and succeed on their own in the real world. I am not going to stop carrying my gigantic purse, but I will work on giving my kids opportunities to creatively solve their own problems before I swoop in to save the day.
Help Your Family Become More Resourceful:
- Family tradition. While doing crafts or other creative activities, such as dying Easter eggs or decroating for holidays, let your children get as resourceful as they want using household items such as rubber bands, stickers or other resources that you already have on hand.
- Egg carton craft. Next time you have an empty egg carton, give your kids markers, scissors, and their imagination and let them make something creative from the left-over egg cartons. My favorite ideas can be found at www.thecraftycrow.net. For other resourceful crafts, see “MacGyver—An Eco Friendly Craft Series” at www.planetforward.ca.
- Object lesson. Any activity that requires problem-solving or imaginative play fosters resourcefulness. Set up a fort in the house or a tent in the yard and pretend that you are stranded. Have everyone bring a couple of household items and talk about different ways you could use them to help you survive. How many uses can you find for a slotted spoon?
- Role Models. Preschoolers love Bob the Builder’s “can-do” attitude and problem-solving skills. Try reading the Box Car Children mysteries for your school-age child. If you are looking for real life examples, check out a book about George Washington Carver, George Mueller or Tony Robbins from the library.
- “I will” statements. Encourage resourcefulness in your home by committing to the following statements. Say these “I will” statements aloud with your children, and encourage them to apply them to situations in their everyday life.
• see value in objects, ideas and people
• make wise use of my time, talents and energy
• practice positive problem-solving
• find solutions using the resources I have
• remember to reuse and recycle.
Sarah Holmes lives in Norman and is the founder of Wildflowers Character Resources. Find more at www.thecharactermom.blogspot.com.