Not everyone is creative minded.
It doesn't take a lot of effort to just hear the words someone says to you if you don't consider what happened before that has led them to utter those words. That takes a spark of imagination and what Sherlock Holmes might call deductive reasoning.
I'm calling it creativity. It doesn't matter what you call it. But this is what I wish to talk about today.
When a child comes home from nursery or school to say, "I drew a picture for you daddy!", you might have a quick glance, admire the squiggles vaguely and dishonestly, then move on.
But what if I told you the child had a meltdown at nursery because they felt alone, or because kids in the class were being unfair or mean, or because they had a fall, and all they wanted to do was get a hug from daddy? What if it was hard for carers and teachers to console the child, and the child simply kept wailing, "I want my daddy!"
What if the situation became a bit impossible until one of the teachers said, "how about we draw a picture for daddy?" And just like that the tantrum was over because the child had something to look forward to.
You can swap 'daddy' with 'mummy' in the scenario above for higher accuracy. After all, mums are the ones who usually do this kind of creative reasoning and digging more. But really, it's something all parents should try to do.
As a parent, you know your child best and with a little bit of creativity, you can almost always tell what may have happened in school or at nursery. But you do need to spare a moment to think about it.
Ours is a dual income household, so moments to think and ponder are rather precious, and even in a single income house, I think time is always quite precious.
But if the most precious thing you leave behind in this world are your kids then it follows that the most precious commodity - your time - should be allocated to them too. Especially when you're home.
The child may not be able to explain to you why they are so excited to show you the picture they drew for you and what compelled them to even draw one. But it is your job as a parent to free your mind from whatever occupies it to give your child due attention. Especially if you lack the imagination or creativity to fill in the gaps.
We are constantly telling kids "you're okay!", "you're fine!" in moments when they clearly are not. They trip, or they bump their head, or they can't get their favourite toy and we have the audacity to tell them they're 'okay', without giving it a second thought, just to improve the situation for ourselves.
They clearly are not okay.
By doing so we are normalising not being okay.
We might as well say, "it's okay that you're not okay".
Remember, children's emotions are as real as yours. You need to sometimes make an effort to step into their world and see things from their perspective.
Just because they don't understand why you had to throw their drawings in the bin does not make their feelings about it any less real.
If you can't help but laugh at something like that, you're staying in your grown up world, making the child think they're stupid, showcasing how unimaginative you are, and essentially, acting like a child who doesn't know better.
Remember, creativity is a bit like a muscle. You may not be very good at it, but spare your moments, give it time and you will get better. And maybe in the process you might even feel a bit like Sherlock Holmes.
Oh, you want to know what inspired me to write this?
My child told me after school that kids in school didn't like her purple jacket. When I tried to talk about it (she's 4) she either deliberately or accidentally changed the subject and I couldn't get her to talk more about it.
Now, I'm testing my deductive reasoning abilities and hopefully I will get to the bottom of this. It will probably cost me a jacket, whatever the case. But I want to understand why anyone would say anything mean about her jacket.
And I've been wondering what else goes on in her day that I will never know. Perhaps when she is older she will fill me in because she will be able to explain better.
|A picture from our recent trip to Windsor Castle|