February 4, 2024

Follow the Leader

Despite my desire to cultivate creativity in our home, I find I often come up short.  Sure, I have lots of fodder for fun stuff thanks to Pinterest, but that site often makes my mind spin in place like tires on black ice.  It's overwhelming.

With Soren, some of my trouble is that I've been burned so many times when setting up activities for him.  Laying out paper, paints, and other materials I think he'd enjoy often resulted in 20 minutes of preparation and 2 minutes of activity.   And usually that activity involved a huge mess of glue and paper bits.

Notice I say "MY trouble", as it's certainly my issue, wanting to impose my idea of creativity on him.  You'd think my training as an art teacher would have helped, but sometimes I think it hinders things a bit.  In theory, I wholeheartedly endorse the exploration of art materials and process over a cutesy end product.  However, I still enjoy coming up with activities that have a little more structure or some new material to try out, or maybe something related to an upcoming holiday.
Oddly enough, there is play and creativity happening under my nose, and often I just don't pause to encourage or admire it.
Dishes "need" to be done, messes tidied, etc.  But leave it to Chris to remind me of what's important--taking time to follow your child's lead.

Yesterday when packing up for a trip to see the grandparents, Soren insisted on wanting to make a volcano with glue, paper, a stapler, paint and twine.  I was utterly confused by what he was asking, and snapped at him to just get his shoes on, that we were leaving soon.  Thankfully Chris took the time to listen to his request, and helped him create what he envisioned, all while holding Jude.
While I was busy tending to the truly unimportant things, Chris was giving Soren what he needed most--his attention and encouragement.
Sometimes I feel like my son is slipping away from me, mostly from maturity and finding value in friends and others and not just me.  I also see him gravitating more towards his daddy, which makes me happy, especially that both boys always have clung to me more than him.
The boys love when Chris "feeds" them ice. 
I see a builder in Soren, from Legos to laying out towns with cars and blocks to his enjoyment of collage (an acute observation from Chris).  It's fascinating to see who he's becoming and what his interests are, and how little of a role I seem to play in their development.  Children clearly aren't a blank slate, looking to be filled with their parents' experiences.

His view of the world is intriguing, so much so that I've given him my old point-and-shoot camera (the phone has now taken its place--thanks for the idea Erin).  While many of the photos are blurry, some of them are quite interesting.
I know it's unintentional, but these are almost painterly.
Day by day, new lessons are presented before me, mostly ones about letting go of my imposed control and order, but when I do surrender, I'm pleasantly surprised at the results. I say it over and over in my life--children are my best teachers.

I hope your week brings some valuable insight from your littlest guides.  Follow those leads!


  1. What an amazing post Kathleen! Honestly, sometimes the best things to do for ones self is just to let go and go where life takes you.

    I can definitely see why you say children are the best teachers; unlike adults, they don't have any expectations in regards to things. They just DO and sometimes, just DOING is the best way to experience new things and achieve some amazing art :)

    I love Soren's volcano!

  2. It doesn't surprise me at all that SoJo has an eye for composition.

  3. Ah, yes. They're so much more emotionally tied to the stuff they come up with too. Maybe Soren can set up an art lesson for you and Jude?


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