Here’s to all of our children who think differently.
The ones who save every bit of trash as inventions.
The ones who view boxes as spaceships.
The one who surprise us with art on our walls.
The ones who want to crack the eggs.
Our children were creatively and uniquely designed to be uniquely creative.
God is a creative God. All we have to do is look around see the evidence everywhere and marvel in how intricate and gorgeous His creation is. Our children are unique and wonderful creations too, from their sparkling eyes to their little toes and their childlike faith and endless imagination. What’s even more than that is that God also designed our children (and us) to also be creative. He has entrusted gifts in us that we are to use for Him in new and life-giving ways.
But... releasing and empowering our kids to be creative is no easy task. Oh sure, it sounds great in theory to let our child’s imagination run wild. We would LOVE to hand them the paint, glue, and glitter and have them go to town and design something new. How empowering it would be to hand our kids ingredients and see what comes out of it.
Creativity sometimes seems to run on the opposite trajectory of reality. Sure, we’d love to let our kids create. But we also have the almost certain possibility of a mess that we will have to clean up. Creativity takes time that we really don’t have. Furthermore, creativity means that we release our kids to do what we will most certainly have the urge to control. If we were (because I know I certainly am) to reflect on the way that we empower kids to be creative and adventurous, I think we would find that we veer our kids a lot of time more towards safety than towards the process of creating something new. We do this not truly because we WANT to, it’s because it what makes logical sense. Not making the mess is logical. Spending time on ”important things” is logical. Doing things the way we want our children to (and toward what is safer) is logical.
With all that being said, do we do what is illogical and just let our kids do whatever their hearts desire? That’s not empowering to creativity either. Without boundaries, there is no purpose and no life given to our creativity. Creativity must have a canvas to bring life to others. The ultimate purpose of creativity is to bring life to others. For creativity to do what it is meant to do, our creative spirits must bring forth life in ways that touches hearts and quickens minds to direct them toward the life-giving love of the Savior. Creativity must balance imagination and logic...and it’s not impossible to do so.
Empowering creativity becomes possible (and more appealing) when we keep a few how-tos in mind:
Allow the mess. Ideas in their infancy are going to be messy and need refining to be all that they are intended to be. As parents, we must facilitate opportunities to flex creative muscles and be willing to clean up the mess. Who knows what seeds get planted and awakened in our children’s hearts when we allow them to paint, build, dig in dirt, code, run, mix ingredients, manage, and lead? Let the mess lead to mentorship and building muscle memory that is filled with the confidence to try something new and dwell in what is possible.
Carve the time. Kids can’t be creative when we are filling their schedules with lots of experiences that give them something to do, without giving them the opportunity to do greater things. Empower your kids to be bored. Don’t feel the need to fill their every minute with entertainment. Necessity is the mother of invention. Eventually, those “bored” moments will breed the beautiful new when they stop looking to you for entertainment and start germinating on ideas that God has placed in their hearts.
Guide without control. Ugh...how does this happen? If you think about it...what do you want to follow more? An guideline or a rule? If you look at them at the core, guideline and rule are the same thing, but guideline gives you an empowering choice in the matter. When we allow our kids to be creative but then control each and every step they take, we squelch the creative spirit within them. We don’t give it power. Guiding gives them boundaries- the ingredients, the canvas, the materials, the area in which to work, but then releases them to come up with the new. “Maybe try this” or “What if” injects new life into creative thinking to ultimately be released to intention.
Our child’s unique and creative design is intended for a specific purpose. So, when we allow the seeds of creativity and the courage of trying something new to be birthed within our children, we point them closer to the heart of the Father who will speak to their hearts and teach them how to use His gifts for Him. Remember, when we parent these creative spirits, we are releasing them to be the God-honoring solution-providers, the God-honoring world-changers, the God-honoring difference-makers, and the God-honoring wise-thinkers that the world needs.