By Barbara Rainey
Do you want to nurture creativity in your kids?
You know the name George Washington Carver, right? You know he invented lots of things from the peanut. But do you know that He talked to God constantly as he worked in his laboratory?
His conversations went something like this: Lord God, you made the peanut. You know every molecule. You know all that can be done with this little nut. Give me your ideas and help me make many uses from it.
Learning George’s story has inspired me to imitate him in my creative endeavors. I pray now more than ever about every word I write, every idea I imagine, every creative task knowing any ability I have comes from the God of creation. It’s great fun to cooperate with God in creating.
How do you feel about creativity?
Being creative is a very messy endeavor. I worked to encourage creativity in my kids and the resulting mess was an ongoing challenge. In spite of my angst over the constant disaster in my house, my kids ‘wrote’ books, made homemade cards and gifts, loved cooking and baking, created forts in every room of the house and even in our backyard. They imagined themselves as ballerinas, thespians, and superheroes as they staged plays or recitals and a quarter for admission to us parents to attend the performances.
Imagination is the well-spring of creativity and thankfully it is a gift given to every person as part of our “made in God’s image” genetics. My kids had it and so do yours.
Summer is around the corner. The relaxed schedules offer more time to nurture imagination and to create.
Here are 5 suggestions for nurturing creativity:
- Remember that your kids’ imagination is a God-given gift, even though it comes with messes. Your encouragement of them is crucial for creativity to grow rather than become dulled. Give thanks for their gift. It will help you keep perspective.
- Make your home inspiring with posters of paintings or God’s creation on the walls, play great music, and have plenty of supplies on hand for experiments. God put His first children in an inspiring, wonder-filled environment, so we can follow his model. Enhance your home with trips to the zoo, local museums, concerts, hikes in the forest or mountains. Or look at beautiful art or play inspiring music online if no museums or concerts are available locally. The more you can expose your children to lofty sights and sounds the more their creativity will flourish.
- God meant for you as a parent to model creativity. It’s not just for your kids, so experiment with new foods this summer, take an art or pottery class, or whatever interests you. It will be easier for you to encourage your kids if you, too, are experiencing the joy of creativity. Ask God to give you new ideas so you can be more like George!
- Be okay with the mess that creativity creates. The hardest part for me was the ongoing mess in my house. Part of my wiring is a love of order, which does not coexist well with creativity. I frequently had to coach myself “this too shall pass,” and of course it did. You have your children for a season. There will be decades, if God wills, for you to live without sticky or play-doh encrusted floors. Give thanks for this season of your life.
- Limit or eliminate media. It is a creativity killer. Kids need to climb trees, make forts and cars and dishes out of clay or mud, and collect bugs and flowers in jars. George Carver had a limited supply of equipment, but he had the Creator at his side and that was all he needed.
A favorite verse of mine is Exodus 35:35: “And He has filled them with skill to do every sort of work done…by any sort of workman or skilled designer.”
May you have an imaginative, creative summer exploring new ideas and experiences to enrich your children and your own life as their mom.
It’s worth the extra messes! I promise.