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Don’t Wait Too Long

JMW getting biggerSo, two weeks ago, I wrote a post about summer creativity. Read it here. My girls went crazy after I showed it to them and they created an arcade of their own. They were busy for days. They created a bottle ring toss, a claw game in which you could win jewelry, an egg-carton game, and a few others (5 or 6 total).  They found prizes from our thrift store pile, made tokens, and wrote out rules.  Everyday, they asked me to put it up on Facebook so that they could have a “grand opening”.  But, I kept putting it off.

One of my daughters, who is a total organizational/neat freak, decided that now (two weeks later) it was old news and has disassembled everything. (The other daughter didn’t mind, because her attention span is short).

The Arcade did have one day of fun though.  My sister’s kids came and played with it for an afternoon and they all seemed to have an AMAZING time.

A word of caution, don’t wait too long. Kids grow. Kids loose interest.

But kids are also inventive, loving, and very forgiving. It is not too late to enjoy their childhood. Remember Stephen R. Covey’s metaphor of Emotional Bank Accounts (or EBAs)? He writes –

Remember the emotional bank account—similar to a bank account, you can make deposits or withdrawals from each of your family relationships. Make a conscious effort to make meaningful deposits in your relationships. When you make a withdrawal, apologize and correct the mistake.

See more on his blog here.

It reminds me of the 1957 song, Turn Around

Where are you going, my little one, little one,
Where are you going, my baby, my own?
Turn around and you’re two,
Turn around and you’re four,
Turn around and you’re a young girl going out of my door.
Turn around, turn around,
Turn around and you’re a young girl going out of my door.

So, I am sorry that I didn’t get pictures of the creativity. I am sorry that I didn’t follow through, but we will have more fun.  Right now, I’m making this post is short so that we can hatch up new schemes of summer creativity.  What are you doing with your children this summer?

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Be “that” Dad! (Or, Let’s all channel the inner creator – which is what the post ends up being about.)

Recently I ran across “the Dad that draws on sandwich bags,” David Laferriere, a designer and illustrator whCreative Dado creates art with a sharpie and a ziploc baggie, so that everyday when his kids open their lunches at school, they are met with something amazing!

Check out a video about him here and links to his website and his flickr account which is definitely worth a look.

In the video, he stated that “it was a way to kick-start his creative juices in the morning” which is such a win-win! Be creative, show love to the kids, become listed as one of the world’s greatest Dads. NICE!

My first thought today is, “in what ways can I creatively show my kids that I love them?” I know that whenever my Mom sent me a note in my  school lunch, I relished it.  Just a simple little, “Have a lovely day, my treasure. XOXO, Mummy” (My mom has a British background. 😉 ).

I am more of a mediocre artist, so as I studied this amazing Dad, I began to think about things that I like to do creatively and how I could use those creative juices in a way that would show my love?  Kids are excited when they are the center of attention. What a great way to bond with them.  I decided to pull out the old (and some new) poems that I wrote about them when they were toddlers, dust them off, add a layer of polish and see if it will make them smile.  Here’s one –

Ruby in her red galoshes
In the wet and mud she sploshes,
In the tub when she washes,
At the table, munch and moshes.
Sploshes, washes, moshes – 
Ruby loves her red galoshes!

Until …
Ruby spies pink glitter slippers,
Though this time she is much hipper,
As the shoe is much, much quicker,
And it matches the skirt with zippers.
Hipper, quicker, zipper – 
Ruby loves pink glitter slippers.

Until …
Ruby spies the green high heel
Now, this is the real deal!
Matches it with a dress of teal,
Twirls and she gives a squeal!
Deal, teal, squeal – 
Ruby loves mom’s big high heels.

Until …

Okay, it’s silly, I know. But there are a couple of things I want to say here about creation.

  1. I LOVED writing that. It was silly, and fun, and I loved the spark of imagination that came as I wrote.
  2. I am PETRIFIED to share it. You can tell because I practically apologized for it right after I shared it (I said, “Okay, it’s silly, I know”.) If I had more courage in my own creative abilities, I’d say something like – “Did you want me to sign a copy of that poem for you?  ‘Cause that’s gold!”

Why do we doubt our abilities? (Ok, maybe I’m making that statement too general. Maybe you are different and everything that you do is amazing.  If so, that’s awesome! Ride that pony, keep creating!) For the rest of us … I’ve noticed something about a lot of my students. When I push the ones that have undeclared majors on what they would really like to study, they usually say something like interior design, or cooking. But they blush and say it under their breath.

Why is that, I wonder? I’m not judging them for cooking. I’m not thinking “How dare you want to major in cooking!  Go back to the social status that you were born into – to be a stable boy. Your father was a stable boy, your grandfather was a stable boy, and so shall you be. There will be no dreams here …” It’s not happening. Usually, I’m wondering if somewhere there will be a pastry in it  for me. 😉

When I went to college, I finally got the courage to take a few creative writing classes (which I reveled in) and some theater classes (which I loved almost equally). But, I was too scared to major in creative writing or theater. I’m happy with the path that my life went on, but I counsel everyone to study what they love.  You will excel when you are doing what you love, not what just what you think will make money, because if you hate it when you’re doing it, you won’t make money in it anyway. Yes, you know that I’m right on this. Just think about “that” doctor at the clinic that no one wants to go to because he/she is a misery to be around.

For those of us who already have a path (college degree, work, family, etc.), practice your creative dreams! Practice on your children, who think the world of you, anyway (especially if you create for or with them). Practice on a blog that mom and only your most loyal friends will read.  Dare yourself to perform at an open mic night, or a community play (you can pull off that English accent!) Practice on sandwich bags, or soccer fields as a coach (where you can create those magic plays that only you can dream up).  But most importantly, engage your children with you in your creativity. It will give you opportunities to bond, to talk, to dream together. Each of my older daughters is now writing a book, as in “Mom, can I borrow the computer? I have to work on my book.”  Then we read our writing to each other and discuss plot, character, settings, etc.

Maybe in doing this we and our children will become creators rather than just consumers, (that’s a win for kids who are glued to devices all day!)  Maybe we can get closer to that child who is having a hard time. Maybe we can gain courage in our abilities and talents. Maybe we could be able to have that spark of inspiration fill our souls a little every day.  Now, that would be awesome!

Ruby's Shoes

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Enjoy the Little Creative Moments

When I came home from work yesterday, my oldest daughter had left me a surprise.

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It’s hard to see what each item is, so I will explain.

There is a plate in the middle with her signature dish (a culinary treat that she created 😉 ) a cinnamon carrot.

Above the plate is a card that she made at school for Mother’s day. To the right of the plate is a love note.

To the left of the plate is a glass of water. Beside the water is a rose from the garden and two little crafts that she and her cousin worked on all morning (pieces of nature decorated with beads, paint, glitter, etc.)

I was so touched! I burst into tears.

Yes, this is proud mama having a moment celebrating her child, and most would think, “so, what’s so special?”

I guess it’s just wonderful to know that she loves me. When I was a kid, I used to make little do-dads for people, and my heart overflowed with love for that person as I drew or colored or created.

Albert Einstein is credited for saying, “Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.”

I think that one of the best ways to promote creativity in our children is through our praise. Our joy at the little things. Our writing posts and journal entries about our children’s accomplishments, no matter how small. We thrive on love.

I remember the day in sixth grade that I stopped drawing. I didn’t get any praise for my artwork, and so I figured that I wasn’t good enough. Bummer, huh! Why I feed off praise, I don’t know, but now at *cough* older than twenty-something, I’m getting better at feeding off of creation and doing rather than opinions.

Later on that day, my daughter beamed as she proudly told me that she hadn’t watched T.V. or had computer time all day. She had spent all of her time creating.

So, I need to continue to encourage creativity, as well as the love of doing. Any thoughts on the best way to help your child nurture creativity? And I don’t just mean artistic creativity either. After all, Einstein wasn’t known for his paintings or dance, but for his ability to creatively look at the world around us and think of physical and mathematical solutions to complex problems. Talk about creativity!

So, my questions for your consideration and input are –

•How do we foster creativity in children?
•Why is it important to do so?
•Can a person be creative in fields other than crafty, craft, crafts 😉 or the Arts?
•How do we teach joy in the doing – or does it just naturally come as a result of hard work?

What do you think?