I live in a multi-generational home currently. Someday I will share about that process: selling my home so I could move to Florida and follow my dreams, giving up my rental and life I loved in Florida for a variety of reasons to come back to Connecticut, and moving home to live with my folks after more than 25 years on my own. We make it work because we love one another and are committed to seeing each other reach our dreams. In this post as I talk about encouraging my daughter’s creativity, it doesn’t fly over my head that my parents are encouraging mine as I live the life of my dreams for the most part (financially things could be better and I do desire to move back into my own place but am enjoying having help with my daughter, which I haven’t had since my ex-husband left more than 10 years ago).
Last Tuesday, we had Thieves diffusing throughout the house and we all seemed to be in the Christmas spirit. Personally, I was a few weeks shy of singing Christmas Carols but could hear my mom and daughter spreading the cheer throughout the house. I was shocked when I came downstairs to my daughter and mother decorating for the holidays since Thanksgiving was still a couple days away and we usually don’t decorate or do anything Christmasy until Black Friday.
It appears last year when they were setting up the Village, my daughter had asked my mother if she could do the village herself this year. She has been in awe of this thing since childhood, when my mother used to use an entire room to house it. Hills, valleys…the thing had its own zip code and Santa was always sure to stop by because he knew for sure there were live children hiding it in somewhere!
As they went through this process, my daughter meticulously chose each piece that would go in the space she had available to her. She could only choose a select number of houses and they agreed to forego all stores. This village was going to be a place filled with people and worthy of Hallmark coming to film within. The people would be caroling and ice skating, gathering together, and it would be like the small town we lived in down in Florida. She planned each spot and what would go there prior to when I walked it and then executed it flawlessly. When done, she walked each member of the family, including my brothers and their loved ones on Thanksgiving Day, through the entire village house by house. Yes, folks, we are doing tours of the Christmas Village for a small donation to her college fund! (Totally kidding!)
Tonight I was looking around at the details of the village and was in awe of her ability to think about it, develop a plan, execute the plan, and then ensure she advertised it well so everyone knew it was up. I am surprised there aren’t signs up on our front yard yet announcing the tours, but then again zoning requirements wouldn’t allow it so she probably already knows that from her research.
Here’s the $2.50 version of the tour:
This all got me thinking about how we need to inspire our kids and show them it’s okay to go after their dreams and be willing to fail. We have become so afraid of failure and so in love with safety and comfort that we are hurting our kids, who have more access to the world than any other generation. We as parents need to learn the tools to help them succeed and share their voices and talents with the world appropriately and in a way that helps them to become productive members of society. By doing this, we will raise children who can handle pressure, rejection, deadlines, and other stressful situations with ease and celebration as they look at their results and see a job well done. Knowing they are doing their best and becoming a part of that process will not only strengthen them but it will deepen the bonds we have with them and create trust.
7 Ways to Encourage Your Children’s Creativity
There are seven ways I encourage creativity within my daughter so she can learn while she is young the necessary skills for her future goals. By teaching her as she is still developing psychologically, physically, socially, and mentally, I am able to provide her with life skills that will help her as an adult as we navigate successes and lessons together.
Learn the Tools They Need to Succeed
Find out which tools your child will need to succeed and learn them. For example, I like taking pictures and recording videos, but I dislike being in either. However, my daughter enjoys YouTube and what she sees with people who have made videos and would like to try her hand at it. As such, our 2019 goals include learning as much as we can about YouTube so I can help her figure out if this is truly something she desires to explore. Having a blog when you should be doing a Vlog or vice versa can take away from the enjoyment of what you really want to do and how you desire to connect with your audience. Discover what tools your children need and learn them with the kids so you all know how to use them well.
Provide Time and Space for Creative Expression at Home
I know some things are annoying. The drums going at all hours of the night. The consistent need to paint and draw, with stuff scattered everywhere while they “create”… I get it. But how is it really that much different from what we do? As creatives, we all have our processes and our need for the creative process to flow through us. Give your child time and space to create as well. Does she love to dance? Give her time in the basement for an hour when she can blast the music and express away. Does he love to play guitar? Soundproof his closet, if big enough, and convert it into a little studio so he can do so without the whole family needing to invest in peppermint oil and ear buds.
Invest in Development Where You See Talents and Gifts
When you notice a talent or gift that your child is interested in exploring, invest in professional help where possible. Does he have a good voice and enjoy singing? Get him a vocal coach. Sign your dancer up with the local dance troupe or enroll her in hip hop dance lessons. Check out Michaels and AC Moore for their craft schedule to help your child explore various options of creative expression. Look into local YMCAs and community centers, parks and recreation programs, and other avenues to let them grow their talents and gifts. As they do this, they will learn whether they truly want to explore these things in more depth or if they just enjoy them at home.
Seek Out Other Families with Creative Kids
Who do you know that has creative kids? Get your musical kids together with the artsy kids and let them go to town with a worship session if you’re into that. There is something beautiful about this mix (check out WorshipMob to see what I mean). Bring your dancers to a home with musicians and let them create a piece together. Bring your artist to a neighbor’s house with a future architect and watch what city concepts they design. Allowing kids to work with other creatives will open them up to new kinds of creativity and also teach them the principles of collaboration.
Seek Out Opportunities Within the Community
Where are the next art shows or open mic nights? Who will be needing a dancer to perform at their next recital? Which parades need help making floats? Which organizations are seeking children to create a logo or participate in a Canstruction event? Look for opportunities within the community for your child to share his or her gift and talent with others. As they are developing them, this will be a great chance for them to meet new people, see how much they have improved and where they need to grow still, and possibly earn some awards or recognition.
Celebrate Wins and Losses with Them
It’s important to celebrate both the wins and losses. Not in an everyone-gets-a-trophy kind of way that creates kids who don’t know how to accept loss but in a way that encourages trying new things and understanding that failure is part of the road to success. Share stories with them of celebrities, athletes, and scientists who failed before they became who we know them as today. Help them understand that is it more important they try and come in last than sit on the side lines and watch others accomplish things they wish they could. When they win, let them know your proud of them and celebrate the same way you do the loss: share with them stories of successful folks they are following after or how this win is beneficial in the bigger picture as you currently know it. Don’t celebrate in an extreme way that makes loss something to be afraid us but be sure to make it special so there is a bit of differentiation and reason to work toward winning.
Market Them – Show Them You Believe in Them
Talk about them. Share their videos and final pieces with others. Be their most important fan and biggest supporter. When they think about who is in their corner, let your face be the first that comes to mind. Don’t just tell them you support them and believe in them, show them by sharing what they do with others, within reason. Think like a marketer or talk to a friend who is doing a good job sharing their kids’ successes in a tasteful way.
If you start implementing these ideas, you’ll see your child take off creatively and begin to show you where they are most skilled as well as which talents are simply things they are good at versus passions of theirs to be nurtured.
How are you currently helping your kids flourish creatively?