There’s a particular activity gracing my girlies’ schedules that they aren’t very good at. They don’t exactly suck, but let’s just say that even if their skills vastly improved, they’d still just be average at best. But we’re sticking with it, as I think there’s something essential about operating outside your comfort zone. I tell my girls ad naseum that they are smart/funny/creative/interesting/good at things. They are immensely confident little people. But I also want them to learn how to deal with not being good at something.
I’m not sure this is the right approach, but I’m forging ahead, as I think (hope) it will teach them resilience and humility. (At worst they’ll have material if they ever go to therapy as adults, right?) And after reading Caitlin’s post this week, I’m even more determined to stay the course. I’ll let her take things from here…
By Caitlin Adams
I work in an office filled with genius minds that can spew out something witty faster than I can put on bronzer. It’s refreshing to be surrounded by such brilliant people, but it’s easy to get discouraged when it takes me thirty minutes to stammer a jumble of thoughts onto paper, only to click delete.
I recently shared a stressful phone call with my mom in which I complained to her that I just didn’t get the creative gene. She laughed and told me that everyone has a creative side, but creativity isn’t something you can measure. It was at that point that I realized moms could still teach their daughters lessons, even from 500 miles away.
My mom’s words on the phone that day struck a chord. She knew there was something to getting brain wheels turning early, and a quick look back on my childhood made me see that my mom tried to spark creativity, even though I might not have been a budding Martha Stewart.
Between enrolling me in drama lessons (no matter how much I cried before each rehearsal), holding my birthday parties at pottery studios, and trying to chaperone every museum field trip I went on, I was treated to my fair share of imaginative experiences at the hands of my momma.
We didn’t live around the corner from The Met, and all it took was one whistle on the flute to show that I was not a musical prodigy, but she was inventive in anyway she could be. She even brought the arts and crafts home, and we spent evenings assembling maracas out of paper plates and beans and Saturday mornings making teddy bear biscuits. (I’ll save that for another post).
Some of these projects may seem futile compared to the hybrid crafts we see on Pinterest today, but creativity comes in every shape and size. While one person might be able to write an entire teen fantasy on a napkin (I’m looking at you, J.K. Rowling), another might be giddy at a small side table they salvaged and spray-painted (cough, cough).
I may not be at the brink of writing the next New York Times bestseller, and I can’t reupholster a chair with a bottle of white out, a safety pin, and chewing gum, but I do the best with what I have, and that’s all anyone can ask for.
So I encourage you moms to hang in there, and continue to encourage your children to unleash their inner artist, no matter if what they produce goes in a museum or on a fridge. Look at those creations as a little piece of your child’s history.