Creativity is an important part of our family life. We want our children to be able to express the talents that they have in them. Their talents may range from thinking, speaking, writing to the more arty expressions of painting, drawing, movie making and music to the more practical aspects of building, fixing or organising. My children are all different and they express their creativity differently – the thing that is the same though, is that creativity has been practiced.
For many years we have used the term “Productive Free Time” to help our children use their free time wisely. For sure, there are times where they blob out and just chill but most of their afternoons are spent in developing skills and pursuing their individual passions.
Though we have the habit of creativity in our home, there are times that this gets washed away with busyness or misplaced priorities. The other thing that has derailed me at times is the different needs and abilities of my children and how as they grow these needs change. I get caught unawares at times that my children have grown and we need to rethink how they are spending their free productive time.
This is where I am at now.
Over the next week, I’ll be looking at what projects Daniel can start working with. The first step, has been to ask Daniel to write a list of all the things he would like to either be better at doing, or learn to do. It has been an insightful list.
There are other questions I need to ask as well:
- What activities are filling in his afternoons now?
- Are they the things he needs to be doing at this time in his life?
- What time does he have to dedicate to these creative/productive projects?
- And, do we have what he needs to learn these things?
- Can I teach or do I need to find someone else?
- What do I need to do to clear my schedule so I am free to encourage him in these things?
- Is there something else, not on Daniel’s list, that I see a talent for, that I can encourage?
Daniel is still at the stage of exploring his passions so I want a variety and yet, I don’t want him spread too thin that he never finishes a project.
We talk about our kids developing their talents and yet it can be an obscure kind of goal. How do you know their talents? I have found that if you give your kids time and opportunity to explore many different things you will see when they light up. This is a flag. It isn’t conclusive – my kids have loved a skill or topic, and then moved on. But it is a flag. And we should at least pause for a while and develop their skills while that light is there. We need to give them time and opportunity.
It may take us out of our comfort zone, it may need us to delay some other personal goal, it may cost a broken fingernail or dirty hands! Whatever it takes, it takes a commitment on our behalf – a commitment to what will help our kids be all they can be.