Parenting Series: Nurturing Creativity

The following is an article written by my mother, Linda Dillon.

Linda has been a mom for 29 years to many children.  Some have been her own but she has raised, or helped raise, hundreds of kids into adults.  Linda spends most of her time serving in the local church where her husband pastors, but, like most women, she enjoys a good pair of shoes, a cup of coffee, and shopping.

Creativity is a lost art in children today.  It's almost sickening to realize that we raise our children to be entertained and to absorb rather than to give and to make the world a better place.  Parents are always telling and asking me about things to do with their kids so they can avoid hearing their children complain of boredom.  (Being bored is a post within itself and I'll have to write about that another time.)  But regardless, of this culture standard to entertain and pander to our kids we are only hurting them and the creative experience.  We can use our influence to impact our children's lives and the lives of children around us.  We can nurture the creative mind that each person is born with.  In turn, that nurturing can help change the world.

I was reminded of this fact a few days ago while I was at work.  One of my young friends, Miss G,  began babysitting for my employer.  Miss G grew up as the youngest of three girls and her mom believed in encouraging creativity and active imaginations in her girls.   Miss G was hired to baby sit for my my employers two year old grandson, Baby M.  Baby M has absolutely everything any two year old could want.  He has toys and age appropriate video games and movies.  His grandmother gives him love and respect.  Seriously, there's nothing more a child could want.  But on this day those toys and video games and movies just weren't quite enough for Baby M.

While watching a movie, Baby M began throwing his toys--all his toys--violently across the room.  Miss G did her best to control the toy throwing, but when she just couldn't anymore, she did the next best thing.  She used her imagination.  She gathered all the blankets in the house and began to build a tunnel all over the furniture.  Obviously, this behavior became distracting to Baby M.

"You're crazy.  You are playing with yourself." he said to Miss G.  He's mind, though young, was not geared or open to this game. 

After Miss G finished she had Baby M follow her through the tunnel.  It was great!  Imagine going through a jungle with monkeys chasing close at your tails or hiding from dinosaurs or exploring a deep, dark cave.  

I was taken back to the days when my four children were little and we did the same thing.  We actually built a tent and slept out all night in the den of the house.  We played circus and had music and dancing.  We threw candy to each other.  Greatest of all was when they were really small getting the pots and pans out and playing them as drums.

Maybe we've lost the art of being creative ourselves.  We depend on teachers, magazine articles, and news recaps to tell us, show us, and inform us what to do.  In same cases they even do it for us.  What about putting your "thinking cap" on and coming up with something great to do with your kids this week that doesn't cost a dime?  And I'm not saying put the kids in the backyard and let them play on the trampoline either.  Spend time with them not money on them.

Dust off the brain and go for it.  Your kids will love your creative side and they will learn to be creative themselves.  You. Can. Do. This.

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