CREATIVE ENRICHMENT FOR FAMILIES
I found much enrichment from reading stories to my daughter every night until she was twelve years old. To this day we share those rich experiences. Many years ago we sat on the sofa and I did drawings for my daughter. She told me how she wanted the figure to look like and I, as best I could, drew that figure. It was just a fun game at the time, but it was that kind of creative play that honed my daughter’s creative talents in the future and knit us closer as two who had interacted creatively. But what I learned is that giving personal time to your kids is better than their prioritizing any video game they could play, better than any late report you might have to hammer out, better than clustering around the TV, better than just about anything. And here’s why…
When you interact with your children through reading, writing, painting, drawing, etc. you are bonding with them. The personal, day to day parent/child dialogues: “…He took my ball, she called me a rat, do your homework, don’t mess up the kitchen, feed the dog, wipe your feet”……is simply not part of the interactive creative dialogue. Paren and child are on the same level. You are all sharing creative times–your children are enjoying listening to your read to them, you are enjoying drawing pictures with them and telling stories about the pictures, you are all having fun writing about the day you got your cute little kitten, who ha now grown into a huge and rather pompous family cat.
FORGET THE PARENT/CHILD DIALOGUE
You are removed from the petty mess of the parent scolding children and the children reacting negatively. Reading, writing, and doing art projects together puts everybody on the same plane. IF you keep the playing level equal with all participants and forget the parent/child roles you usually play, you will have a ball!
OK, but there is still soccer, football, ballet, and when in the world can you find time for creative play? Make time for creative interaction. Yes, it’s important that your son’s team wins the next game, and you should be there to cheer him on. But carving out a small space of time, even twenty minutes, for reading, writing, drawing together will help you win his heart as a trustworthy and loving parent that is willing to meet him at his level and share a creative process with him.
THE MESSAGE IS THE MENTAL MASSAGE
Life races on, kid’s grow up fast. Appropriating those twenty minutes once or twice a week will change the texture of your lives. Yes, it will be difficult to steer them away from their video games and text messaging friends. But, soon you’re message will be clear–“I just want to spend some time with you.” No lecturing, no admonishing, no talking down to–just time spent together on a little project discovering what you are both made of without the parent/child roles to be played. One night, just try this. Turn off the TV. Turn off the video games. Sit down with the kids and invent a story. Just a little, simple story. And then everyone draws it. Pass the drawings around and talk about the drawing–no criticism, no put-downs, just talk.
OK, everybody is yawning–I know. But that will pass if you repeat it the next week and the next. You ARE going to start having a good time. It can be a little scary at first. It’s not a video game or TV. It’s just you and the kids. Don’t worry. Soon, you’ll discover some things about yourselves–family things that soccer and ballet don’t quite come through with. Like who you are as inter-related human beings, what you think of each other and how, without any competition and bad mouth from anybody, you can look at each other and admire yourselves for who you are.
THAT NICE CREATIVE FEELING
Remember how you wanted to paint an oil painting? Remember the drawing class you took at the community college and you love it? Remember the creative things you’ve done, like finding the right knobs for your kitchen cabinets, installing low voltage lighting around your drive way to dramatically light the trees and bushes, or making that goofy birthday card for your kid, because you just couldn’t find one that was right? You got a warm glow from those projects, didn’t you? Good.
CREATIVE TIME FOR YOURSELF
Carve out some creative time for yourself. OK, presently your private time is between 10:30 and 11:00 at night, when you can read a few pages of that novel you’ve renewed three times from the local library and then crash. Appropriate YOUR OWN creative twenty minutes once or twice a week. Decide what you will do for those twenty minutes. Draw, paint, write? Plug into your creative mind–not for the boss, but for yourself. Recall favorite childhood places and images. Write or draw about them. Uplift your life with color through pastels or acrylic or oil paints. Discover the magic of art media and skills. Sit down with a sketch pad and draw your house plants. Do a pastel from a photo of your neighbor at your last New Year’s Eve party (it was sooo funny, yes?)
It will take a month or so. After these creative times, you will feel the ripple effect. It is a fine feeling caused by instructing your conscious and subconscious to be creative and delve into parts of your brain that give you a healthy, well balanced sense of being (even wisdom!) Then, increase those minutes. Try for twenty to thirty minutes a day. Ripple effect will be more like a positive tide of good feeling, tapping into the powers of your mind that have been dormant for too long.
self improvement,creativity,family enrichment