Pre-kids, I naively thought that I would be the one dishing up all of the lessons to my off-spring, teaching, inspiring and guiding them, and while that much is undoubtedly true, I often feel that they too are teaching and supporting me. It’s something I’ve shared before here, particularly in light of my thyroid operation 4 months ago where their care, consideration and ability to comfort surprised me a little. I’d underestimated their emotional intelligence and capacity to help me physically and mentally. It blew me away.
Of course, seeing the world through their eyes, witnessing their courage and the purity of their thinking is eye opening as is observing their growth and willingness to create and be true to themselves without little external pressure.
Kids are better than adults at simply being themselves. They don’t need constant stimulation either.
Take this weekend, a big empty box and a little imagination went a long way as they created a spaceship and elaborate story featuring distinct characters including Ninja Mama of course who often crops up since I invented her at bedtime, a kick-ass mother who saves the world (maybe a Children’s book should be my next project) and the kids reenacted some of the plot.
Before inspiration struck on Saturday, the boys were bored, restless and deeply frustrated due to the rain but a chair delivery later with lifesize box and their afternoon was transformed. Oliver carefully cut out a ‘look out window’ from the box and while we didn’t get the paints or stickers out (they actually didn’t need them), they simply used their imagination, creating a world of adventure from the living room floor.
So often in life, we worry that we don’t have the resources, potential, time or power to create when it’s deep within us and right in front of us. We forget to play. To try new things, to simply sample what might nourish us and give us pleasure and often when we do we talk ourselves out of continuing.
So we let fear stifle and stop us. We rarely use our own counsel to our kids to persevere when it comes to our own endeavours.
We often let boredom, frustration and endless comparison silence us. We dismiss the journey because we become so wrapped up in results, in the final picture, product or destination we’re presented with rather than the joy of the process.
Creativity lives in all of us so reconnect into your inner child, the one who relishes discovery, and to paraphrase Elizabeth Gilbert who passionately asserts in Big Magic that creativity is an external force, an energy which waits to come to fruition but moves on if it’s untapped and made use of.