Last fall, Tara over at Scoutie Girl asked a really intriguing question, and it’s been in the back of my mind ever since: What will you teach the new generation about creativity?
Having no kids of my own, all of my child interactions comes from other people’s babies – like my niece and nephew.
I love these two like they were my own children. I’ve been there for everything I can, and it pains me when I know I’m missing little daily things. But when I’m with them, I love watching them play. I love when they ask questions. I love involving myself with these two little beings who are so full of love and laughter. And the thing is, it comes to them naturally. They are so cuddly, and so loving, it floors me.
A while back, something else occurred to me as I watched them. Not only does love come naturally to them, so does creativity.
Parents out there already know this; they’ve got kids of their own that show these natural tendencies. No one ever had to teach them anything about creativity or make believe; their minds were already wide open to the possibilities.
I was reminded of this again two weekends ago, when the two little munchkins showed up at my house (with their mom, of course, though they are familiar enough with flying to navigate themselves here from NYC on their own, despite being super short and young).
I took the opportunity to knock off another 30 Before 30 item, and had an art day with them. It was so nice to get to spend quality one-on-two time with them. “Art day” is also a little generous, since they are still only 3 and almost 5, but for a few hours, we had a lot of fun.
I asked them what they wanted to do – paint, bake, sculpt – and wouldn’t you know? They both wanted to make jewelry. Totally unprompted by me, but I loved it. So, I dragged out a bunch of glass beads and showed them how to put them on a string to make a necklace, and stretchy stuff I had for bracelets.
In my head, I was thinking of all the tricks I knew, and how I could translate that for their age. But then a curious thing happened. After separating all of the beads by color (again, totally unprompted by me – the little miss decided that because she had just learned about the color wheel in school), they both sat down and figured it out.
I didn’t need to teach them anything. They already got it.
And I decided to let them just play. Rather than telling them the “right” way, I let them put things together on their own. They chose their own colors, their own beads, and how they wanted them to be on their necklaces and bracelets. And by the end of the day (or nap time), I had two proud little kids wanting to make more.
I played no role in this creative session; I wasn’t really a teacher, I was barely a participant (“No, I can do it.”). So, when I sat down to write this, I flashed back to Tara’s post. When she asked “What will you teach the next generation about creativity?”, my first thought was “Not much”. They’ve already got it.
So flipping cute.