Raising Creatives

I subscribe to Poetry magazine and lately Harper has taken to carrying the latest issue around when it arrives in the mail. She likes the different art work and colors on each issue and she is almost reading so I think she feels very grown up attempting to read the poems. Sunday she found a blank journal and declared it her poetry book, moon poetry book to be exact. She also is constantly finger knitting, drawing, just always making things.

Charlie likes making things too. He finger knits and draws and loves extra large paper to sketch out very complex stories that he will tell and act out for me later. Monday I caught him doing this.

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Both kids take piano lessons from a wonderful man that has been coming to our house for over a year to teach them. For Monday’s lesson Charlie had left him his own composition ready to play. And do you think our beloved piano teacher batted an eye? Of course not. He asked to hear the song and immediately began accompanying him on the guitar he had brought along. Here’s Charlie’s original composition ‘Up and Down’ (start over 10 times!) if you’re interested.

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Both of these things have me thinking about what it means to raise creative people. I was telling my husband how important it is to me that not only do they want to make stuff, they feel no qualms about sharing it with us and other adults that they trust. It’s all at once completely innocent and incredibly brave and I take it as a great task to earn their trust, to cultivate the love and wonder of self and others that comes from making something out of nothing.

I don’t know that there’s any magic formula to allowing this kind of creativity to foster. I do think a big part of it is allowing time and space for it to happen. To clear out parts of the day or the week where there is nothing that has to be done and no option of turning a tv or iPad. I leave out bits and pieces, blank journals and paper and scissors and glue. I try to say yes when they ask to use certain materials. But mainly I think I try to model what I believe to be true, that creativity is a part of all of us and we all deserve the time and space to experiment and try new things for no other reason than it makes us happy.

I do not do that perfectly, but seeing them being creative completely on their own these past few days, without any push from me, made my heart soar and made me want to contemplate how better to facilitate this love of creating that is inside all of us. A reminder that I can follow their lead and worry less about the outcome and just enjoy the process.

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