Dear Friends and Benefactors,
Let me return this month to say some final words regarding
the development of resourcefulness in children.
In previous letters we considered the importance of giving
children what they truly need and not what they simply want. We also looked at
the importance of removing obstacles to the development of resourcefulness,
Let us now consider some of the various means which help to
development resourcefulness in children.
Much of what has already been said about developing
responsibility also helps in the bringing out resourcefulness. Thus parents who
teach their children to be responsible in doing their assigned chores will
usually find them also developing initiative in finding ways (tricks of the
trade) to get them done. Similarly with schoolwork, when children are properly
guided by parents and teachers to be responsible for their daily homework and
periodic reports or projects they will also develop into resourceful students.
Another great means for developing resourcefulness is
hobbies. Unfortunately, these have become an endangered activity for most
children today. With hours and hours spent watching television, playing video
games, instant messaging with their friends, or surfing the web, it is no
surprise that they have little or no interest for hobbies or, for that matter,
the real world.
But what type of activities can be considered as hobbies?
Hobbies are those self-directed educational activities which regularly occupy
our time and allow us to be creative. Bird watching, stamp, bug, or rock
collecting, model rockets or planes and wood whittling are just a few of the
many activities that can be considered as hobbies. When children take part in
these constructive activities they learn to exercise their imagination and
creativity, as well as focus their interests and talents on particular subjects.
They also learn to set goals, make complex decisions, and solve all sorts of
practical problems. As their knowledge grows and their talent develops their
self-respect will also increase, giving them a certain healthy pride in their
work (also endangered today). Likewise they will gain respect for others who are
also developing specific talents.
Parents can help their children to develop and sustain
hobbies in several ways. It is often the case that children who have hobbies
usually have parents who also have hobbies. Therefore, by simply setting the
example parents can encourage their children to develop their own hobby. Such
parents usually realize the importance that hobbies have had in their own
development and so support their children by giving them the necessary guidance
and providing the necessary space and materials. Basic skills in the proper use
of tools, materials or simply in following directions are also important for
preventing frustration and discouragement and will also help them to avoid
accidents. At the same time, parents can prevent frustration for themselves and
other family members by teaching their children how to properly clean up and put
things away when their work is finished.
Most hobbies will require the purchase of some materials, but
here too parents must be careful to give their children what they need and not
what they simply want. Remember a resourceful person has the ability to do a lot
with relatively little. On the other hand there are many hobbies that will more
than make up for this initial investment. Hobbies such as gardening or the
raising of livestock can produce fruits that far outweigh the initial investment
by providing food for the whole family. They are also a great means to gain
first hand knowledge about the world God has created; the real world.
Resourcefulness is an important building block in a child’s
character. By learning how to do a lot with a little they will be more apt to be
poor in spirit and be able to do all things in Christ.
Sincerely in the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and
Fr. John D. Fullerton