We have all heard the adage “Actions speak louder than words” and in the realm of artistic expression, nothing could be more true. If you want your children to be creative beings, model the behavior by being creative yourself. Being creative does not mean you have to have exceptional talent. I sing all the time and no one would ever accuse me of having a good voice, as a matter of fact, I can hit exactly 7 1/2 notes if the planets are aligned. Does that stop me from singing? No way! Why? Because it feels good to sing! On our trip home from South Carolina, Tim and I put on the Pandora station “British Invasion” and sang for 4 hours straight. He has a good voice and hit all the notes. Me, not so much so, but my philosophy is… when in doubt, sign louder! No foundation for this belief, I’ve just decided to embrace my vocally challenged voice and sing with gusto and abandonment!
When I finally had the courage to begin watercoloring, I held close to the same philosophy, and decided I wasn’t competing with anyone, I just wanted to paint because it felt good. As it turns out my painting is not as challenged as my signing… who knew… but I know I will never be an exceptional talent… but it feels good.
I want all the wee ones in my life to know the same joy of creative self expression. So, I sing to them, and create with them. There are baskets of colored pencils, paint brushes, sketching pencils, scissors and glue strewn about the house. Watercolor and sketching paper are on a shelf the wee ones can easily reach, as are yarn and sparkles. But probably the most important thing I provide them with is I model creativity.
I sit and create with them. We share ideas. I leave my work laying around. I point out the things I love about my work and the things I don’t. I hang on to some really awful things I have created. Why? Because it shows children that creative expression is about the process, not the product or perfection.
Yesterday, 8 year old Pixie picked up my small watercolor journal. In this little journal I love to experiment. She was leafing through the pages and when she was done, she gathered supplies and headed off to the table. Later, she brought her completed painting to share with us along with my journal. This playful page encouraged her to create her beautiful painting.
Telling children to draw a picture is one thing, inspiring them to create is another. You do not have to be a mega talent. When you create with your wee ones, you truly aren’t modeling talent, you are modeling the joy of creating. Help inspire your children and allow them to inspire you. And, no matter how you perceive your own talents, SING LOUD!