So my six-year-old daughter has started writing songs. She’s always been the kid who spends hours of her week in corners of the house drawing endlessly in her journal or on any loose paper she can find. But she has also spent hours sitting on my lap or in the room with me while I plunked chords out on the piano trying to put my heart to music. Not long ago I mentioned to her that the first song I ever wrote was when I was in first grade. She looked surprised, thinking that song-writing was for grown-ups only. I recited the lyrics to that song I wrote as a little girl. It was a simple message about friendship and God’s love. She ate. it. up. And from that day on she has been writing her own little lyrics and melodies. This past week she was sitting at the piano playing one note at a time and repeating the same little lyric… “I will sing your name a thousand times.”
YES. YES. YES.
There is something about hearing your kid sing their own anthem of love to the God that they have a relationship with that makes your heart do cartwheels. She isn’t singing my songs, she’s singing her own. She found her own words and her own melody to tell Jesus what He means to her.
Lollie, songwriting in her journal
If you stop and think about all of creation — the intricate beauty in the details of our world — you have to acknowledge God as the author of creativity. And we were created in His image so we are born with His creativity inside of us! How amazing is that! But as we grow we lose the fun and wonder of using our imaginations, of making things with our hands and trying (and sometimes failing) to make something beautiful. We settle by learning to just express ourselves with words…or not at all.
It is so important to foster a spirit of creativity in your family and to find ways to allow them to express their creativity. Giving them the time and the tools to be creative is something you will never regret. I know some of you are thinking, “there is no chance my kid will sit still long enough to do a craft.” And you may be right, but this isn’t about family craft time.
If I give my kids the supplies to be creative they usually will find some inspiration on their own and feel the freedom to create. I have endless craft supplies, blank sheets of paper, crayons, paint and color pencils out the wazoo, musical instruments around the house, sticks, rocks, pinecones and flowers in the yard, tools, and books with ideas and inspiration for them to peruse. And I try to allow myself the time to be creative so I can lead by example, whether that is through songwriting, painting, baking, etc…If they see me sit down to paint they will, without fail, grab their painting supplies and join me. When we were in the waiting period of our adoption process I felt so out of control. One afternoon I went outside to paint a reminder for myself to stay hopeful and my daughter joined me. I painted what I was feeling and she did the same.
I have noticed, now that my son is 8 years old, that my habits are becoming his habits. He sees the things I devote my time to and is steadily devoting time to those same things. If you’re wishing for more creativity in your house try these simple ideas to get yourself and your kiddos started:
Paint a self-portrait, have a dance party, write a poem, learn an instrument, bake a crazy cake, color a picture, make a flower arrangement, paint war paint designs on your face and have a mud fight with your kids, make a pinecone sculpture, make a tic-tac-toe game out of painted rocks, invent a new toy, make friendship bracelets, plant a garden, start a journal, play dress-up and make your own costume, go on a nature walk, imagine a brand new animal and draw a picture of it, build a giant fort, write a short story about your favorite people doing your favorite things, act out something funny that happened to you, take photos of your dog wearing hats or the beautiful sunset…
And it’s also important to feed your creativity with inspiration.
Go to a museum, read books, listen to music, involve friends, watch an Andy Goldsworthy documentary, play outside, watch shows like Master Chef Jr. or fun DIY videos on youtube, invest in legos, have supplies readily available, lead by example and let the author of creativity inspire you. God’s greatness is endless and his beauty is endless so His inspiration is endless.
And creativity doesn’t just have to be a sweet, tender-hearted worship song written by your 6-year-old…it can be a hand-drawn comic about an evil turd-monster (believe me, it’s all happening at our house). Once, our kids created a restaurant in the basement and dressed in black pants and fancy white shirts, Ollie even wore a bowtie. They decorated and set a table with dinner and flowers. As Drew and I sat down to eat our
buttered toast & LaCroix dinner they said, “now please enjoy this song while you eat” and started to serenade us with a fart gun noise machine…So I guess what I’m saying is I would call that a successful creative endeavor.
the boys building a rock sculpture by our river
an (unsupervised) flower arrangement
baking persimmon muffins from the persimmon trees in our yard
I’d love to hear any more fun creative ideas you have!