You Can’t Force Creativity

About creativity and parenting | Live Colorful

When Jaxon turned two years old, I began to worry that I could not make him sit down to paint or work on any crafty activities. It’s silly now, but at the time I actually felt stressed about the whole situation, especially when his teacher started to ask questions about Jaxon’s behavior at home.

He took him constantly to classes for toddlers where they tried to make him paint or glue pieces of paper and make art. But every time, I ended up tired running around and doing the activity myself. It was really frustrating, especially when I wanted him to join me and sit down with me and paint and he wanted to jump or do something totally different.

It was hard at the beginning, but one day I simply accepted that all the things I love doing were probably not going to be the same things that my child would love to do.

I started to pay more attention to the things that made Jaxon smile, just to discover how incredibly creative he was, but in a totally different way. He loves to act, sing and create imaginary spaces like ice cream shops and farmers markets where he oftens sells imaginary clothes, rocks, and chocolate.

I also discovered how much he loves being in nature and how much attention he pays to the things I say or teach him if we are in a park or hiking in the mountains. I joined him, and together we started to enjoy more of these activities that he likes to do. One day we built houses with leaves so the ants wouldn’t get wet in the rain, we also made a paper boat once, then jumped on it until it was completely destroyed. Something about smashing things catches Jaxons attention. He is extremely curious and active and sometimes is hard to keep him entertained.

Taking myself out of my comfort zone made me think about how he might feel when I try to sit him down and make him paint. Can you imagine trying to create something while all you want to do is run?

Today I finished taking a bath and while I was putting on my makeup I discovered that, on his own, Jaxon had taken out his crayons and was sitting at his desk along and painting.

So maybe I was all wrong, maybe, kids change and all is not lost, and the world does have meaning, and everything really is awesome.

2 Responses

  1. Damir Radovic says:

    Great story, Elba. I agree – we shouldn’t force kids to do something just because we love it. They are their own people and should be given space to find themselves, not to be molded 🙂 (at least, in my opinion)

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