Thursday, June 12, 2014

How to Deeply Nourish Your Child's Creative Impulses

Wow, that sounds like such a big and serious title, no?

I am here to say, it is simple to nourish creativity in our children. 
Mostly by getting out of the way. 

A notion exists that creativity is something that exists outside of ourselves, something we experience in art class, at museums, something we cultivate and work at by seeking something outside of ourselves. Projects. Crafts. Something that depends on opportunities, field trips, museums, enrichment programs.

Not for children.

While I agree that art offers us new ways of seeing things, I assert here that children are born with the ability to see things in new ways.

For the young child, the spirit of creativity is alive and present, seeking expression with every breath.

The world is the child's art studio and the four elements provide the tools, toddling on the ground, digging in the dirt (okay a decent shovel is needed.) Feeling sand between the toes. Dipping the toes into the water. Running with arms out to feel the air. Eyes wide open to drink in the flame on a candle. Spinning. Falling. Rolling. Skipping around a campfire. Watching the bees. Climbing trees. Skinning knees from falling. Playing with sticks and stones. 

Play, the free self initiated play of childhood, is exploration in the same juicy creative flow that artists, writers and great thinkers experience.

It begins with birth. A form of creative expression in itself.

Children are born in a state of wonder. A state we reflect with our own awe. This feeling of awe leads to reverence and gratitude. Ah, life! Have you ever noticed how a newborn captivates an entire room of adults?

What the young child needs is the freedom for self initiated play. Freedom from distractions. Freedom from interruption. Freedom from prompts. Freedom from screen exposure and its pre made images. Freedom from stuff. Freedom from the pursuit of proximity. Freedom from the fear of healthy risk taking. 

Just plain ole, left alone, benignly neglected childhood, with the spaciousness of time for play.

Children are born to explore their world, to see it, smell it, hear it, taste it, touch it, move it, climb on it, rattle it, try it on. To give it form and then destroy it. Creativity and destruction go hand in hand. To make way for the new, the old has to give way.

We adults tend to want to hold on to what is. It's hard for us to step back and let go. Yet when we do, the wonder and magic take place.

The only requirement is that the child be in right relationship to the adult who is caring for the child. When the child feels secure in relationship to the adult, the child is free to relax into the flow of play.

I'll say more about the flow and relationship later on.

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