Why it is crucial to allow your kids to create art
First of all my apologies for having been MIA for the past 2 months! These have probably been the busiest two months this year. Right after we got back from Germany, we finished out the school year (strong!:), I had several projects, started working part time again and enrolled the kids in more sports and art camps than I had ever done in my life!
A second reason I've been MIA is that I finished writing the children's book that I started last summer (Yipee!).
In the process I learnt several things:
1.) It's good for the soul to do a bucket list item and work on a large creative project
2.) Writing a children's book requires a LOT of time and long nights
3.) I REALLY love my book and hope it gets published! (-:
Apart from that I realized this summer how important it is to encourage young children of color to be creative and create things with their hands. Yes, it can and will get messy... but in today's world where their ability will soon by constantly second guessed, I believe creativity, encouraging and praising creativity (and not perfection) is not just optional but crucial to keep your child well rounded in body, mind and soul. It shouldn't just all be about academics, reading and sports (though I love those). Art has to be a crucial part of their education and life as well. When we encourage young people to express what they experience not just in words but with their hands they are free to live out all their gifting.
The artist I was writing a book on said that it was the atmosphere in his home that fostered creativity in him. His parents, despite very humble means continually encouraged him and his siblings to create with their hands: draw, potter, paint, make music.
It's good for the soul. This summer as my kids proudly showed me their watermelon sewn purses and pottered mermaids I realized that a long time ago I resolved that anytime my kids showed me an artistic work I would behave like it was the most beautiful thing in the whole universe. Why? Because this world will soon enough try to damp or numb or stifle young people's creativity and confidence in creating things. I want my kids to fall back onto a foundation of artistic acceptance.
Today my children watched a show where the main character (playwright) told the African American puppet who was hiding. "No, we need your ideas! Your voice matters too!" I honestly wasn't quite sure how to feel about the scene. Sure, I got the gist here. But it was too stereotypical. I mean how powerful would it have been to beat all stereotypes and switch around those two characters to convey the message that truly ALL voices matter and all voices struggle with insecurity sometime and all voices can be successful.
However, the words reinforced the message I've been thinking about: All our creative ideas and expressions matter in our community, country and world. No-one gets to hide.
And that's also one reasons I wrote my book. The artist and his family really inspired me and I hope it will inspire others, especially children of color, to find and live out their artistic expressions despite obstacles.
But bottom line, in order to encourage arts I may have to continue some of the camps this Fall and turn a blind eye to some very creative messes in my backyards mud kitchen (:
Stay cool this summer and wish me luck on that book please!
California based Ghanaian-German educator, writer, bookworm and mama of three. A lover of all things nature, diversity & healthy.
"Education is nothing else than discovery.
And discovery full of diversity is beautiful."
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About the author
My name is Nancy. I'm a teacher, home educator, wife, mother, writer and accidental German-Ghanaian transplant to the U.S., in love with California and all things diversity.