Welcome to AP Month 2013! This year, we celebrate the theme of “Parenting Creatively: The Art of Parenting.” We’ll explore what that means by looking at some of the aspects of creativity that fall squarely in the context of nurturing our children as well as ourselves. Join us as we discover and share about the conditions that we can cultivate, experiment with, choose from and enjoy each day that promote creativity in, among and between members of the whole family. We invite you to participate in all of our AP Month activities designed to help orient us in small ways to attend to living and parenting with more creativity.
For an idea of the territory we’ll cover this AP Month, imagine the following scene:
Your darling, amazing child twinkling from head to toe, bubbling and tickled pink at his accomplishment. Beaming in delight, he proudly and delightedly presents you with the most astounding masterpiece ever. It’s breathtaking. It could be mistaken for a Picasso.
You take in a riot of blazing, bold, delicious color and never-before-seen details — more remarkable details than any peer. And, sweetly, you see that it’s a family portrait. There you all are, each of you, lovingly smiling and holding hands. Everyone is so happy.
Of course this masterpiece is rendered as all masterpieces should be: in archival-quality, permanent colors and exquisite installation for optimal viewing pleasure. A pure marvel. (Scroll down for the punch line you know is coming…)
Right on the new wallpaper.
Your sweet one, most satisfied with this obvious masterpiece, is especially proud because he, ever so carefully and thoughtfully, abided by your frequent rule to only color “on the paper.” Note how skillfully the artist avoided marking on the wall that doesn’t have paper.
If it’s a good day, perhaps you’ll find yourself fully in the grip of Cognitive Dissonance — that utterly mixed state that floods us with questions: Do we share their pure joy, at least for a moment? Plunge instantly into anguish over the ruined wallpaper? Discipline the artist? All? None? In what order and magnitude? Of course, we’re all probably familiar with responses we’ve had that aren’t confused at all. Or very joyful.
Dramatic scenes like this unfold at a rapid clip in homes of young creatives everywhere — and every young one is, by definition, a creative in their own special way. As parents of these creatives (aka children), we’re repeatedly tasked to provide creative responses to great and amazing displays of creativity.
Contrary to popular belief, creativity isn’t inborn or reserved for da Vinci, Nobel Prize winners, etsy shop owners or the advertising industry. It’s undeniable that some individuals have a great deal more aptitude than most of us, but creativity is an everyday phenomenon related to flexibility, persistence, focus, idea germination, thinking in different ways, physical activity and motion, sleep, moods, stress, time pressure. These are all skills that we can learn and develop in supportive atmospheres. When we value and support these skills in ourselves and in our children, newer levels of creativity bloom. Traditionally creative pursuits are but a few of the most visible and expressive forms.
Whatever our rules about “muraling” at home, our responses, our children and our relationships can usually benefit when we’re in touch with our own creativity. This kind of creativity resides in us all, can be nurtured, facilitates our everyday experiences and impacts our sense of well-being. If it also inspires us to write concertos, what an amazing added bonus.