When you become a parent, ideas swirl in your head of what you will and won’t do with your children. I always told myself I’d raise:
free-thinkers who don’t follow the beaten path but forge their own in this world.
children with amazing manners who are caring, kind and full of heart.
Raising Children Who Think Outside the Box
For me, I wanted creative children. And artistic ones would be great too, but mostly, I wanted to raise children who thought outside the box. I wanted to raise children who were problem solvers because they could see things in a way that no one else could. Perhaps they would be the type of children who write poems or stories and sketch when they are bored. I wanted to raise children who looked at a cardboard box and thought, “What could I turn that into?”
I was raised by a creative mother. She’s a writer, a painter, and even makes furniture when the mood strikes her. I grew up with a colored pencil in my hand, paint drops on my clothes and an imagination like none other, and that’s exactly how I wanted my children to be raised.
Kids Want to See Their Art. Just Couldn’t Haven’t Them on Walls
I started when my kids could hold a large piece of chalk or a jumbo crayon, fostering their creativity. If they drew on the walls, sobeit. The world was their canvas, and it was my job to guide them to keep their artwork on an actual canvas, but if the wall needed to be decorated, who was I to argue with that?
We would take a picture of the art, then together we’d clean it off, and I’d warn my kids that if they wanted to always be able to see their art, they should keep in on the paper and not the walls. They understood, and shockingly enough, they rarely drew on the walls again.
As they got older, we experimented with paint and glitter, origami and card-making, scrapbooking and sketching and so much more. If my kids wanted to try something new, we did it. Just like I could never say no to them when they asked to buy books, I could never say no to them when they asked to by art supplies.
My children are now 11 and 8, and while my daughter (the 11 year old) has gone the musical route and plays the violin, she still draws the cutest miniature animals and funny stick figure drawings I’ve ever seen. My son is definitely following in my footsteps and has taken up writing his own short stories and illustrating them with his own drawings. Both of them are bursting at the seams with unique personalities, and they can spend hours living in their imaginations to produce 5 minute skits to perform for their dad and me.
Is Cultivating Art as Important as Math and Literature?
I feel that cultivating the arts in children is just as important as teaching them to read and crunch numbers. The education system as it is today is heavily declining, and the first budget cuts always involve the fine arts.
Many schools don’t even have a music, drama or art programs at all anymore. In my opinion, the result of this will be catastrophic for our future.
Cutting out the arts means we are cutting out the subjects that help children think for themselves. Art helps foster creativity, which help kids become creative thinkers and problem solvers. Exercising their creative thinking skills helps them develop their personalities to become strong, goal-oriented, individually unique thinkers.
Cutting out the arts means we are creating cookie-cutter children who only know how to look at things with the left-side of their brain in an analytical manner. In short, we are killing their imagination.
Could you imagine a world without artists, musicians or actors and movies? I’m sure it would be pretty boring!
Why Parents Need to Take Charge of Their Children’s Creative Side
All of these reasons are why I made the decision to raise creative children. An imagination is a terrible thing to lose, so I wanted to ensure that my kids had enough to spread around.
In this day and age with the internet, crafting blogs and Pinterest, even the most left-brained person can cultivate their creative side. And every parent should take it upon themselves to help their child become creative and build their imagination. A box of crayons and a coloring book can be the first step.
32 years later I’m still a creative person. In my spare time I make clay figurines, paint canvases so my home has one-of-a-kind art, entertain people with my writing, take pictures of leaves on trees, and I spent years as a tattoo artist. I’ve always walked to the beat of my own drum, and I fully believe it’s because I was raised as a creative child. I’ve never looked at the world as other people do. I see the beauty in a mud puddle, can sit under a tree for hours and listen to the wind blow through its branches, and break coffee mugs just to glue the pieces to a canvas in the shape of a coffee mug in the name of ‘art’.
I can only hope that 20 years from now my children are breaking things to glue back together, too.