Most parents would like their kids to have the capacity to innovate and think out of the box. To be seen as a keen problem solver by their current academic peers and future professional colleagues. Developing this capacity is not easy of course, because it means getting kids used to operate outside of the boundaries of the expected behaviors for their current social group. Without this willingness to be seen, at least partially, as someone who doesn’t do what everyone else is doing, there is very little chance they’ll actually innovate or be creative at problem-solving in their lives.
The question then becomes: how do you develop this and get them used to it? An excellent way is to have them practice a physical activity like Natural Movement in public non-fitness environments.
Real-life examples from my kids:
- handstands against a wall waiting to cross at the traffic light
- climbing on poles in the street
- climbing on staircases in parks
- balancing on benches
The list goes on. This type of training results in physical benefits of course but the mental improvements are even more important. They know their behavior is not the expected behavior in society and the majority of the persons seeing them will think they are a bit weird. And they’re totally comfortable with that. Being seen as operating outside of the social norms is not a negative feeling but becomes neutral over the short-term.
Practice this a bit more and it actually turns into a positive feeling of proudness and empowerment, which then truly builds their capacity to innovate in a school or company setting. How? Because they realize this positive feedback loop:
- I chose to ignore my initial feelings of being uncomfortable training Movnat techniques in public.
- That lead me to practicing these techniques with enough training volume that I am now quite skilled in many of them, and far surpassing my peers in terms of skills and performance.
- Which is making me realize the huge benefits in going against the grain and doing things others are not feeling comfortable doing.
- So I’m doing it more and will apply the same reasoning when faced with an academic or professional situation later in life.
Unique to training Natural Movement / Parkour
It goes without saying that practicing any type of sport or physical activity is hugely beneficial for any child in terms of health and fitness. There are some mental benefits that are not obtained through any type of individual or team sport however and are unique to a Natural Movement practice.
Building up their capacity to innovate later in life is one of them. Practicing tennis, rugby, etc. is fantastic but it’s a totally expected behavior. There is no social awkwardness to deal with and become comfortable with.
So consider adding a bit of Natural Movement practice in improvised settings for your kids: they will derive unique benefits from it not easily obtained anywhere else!