A friend suggested I write on creativity for children, and I am definitely going to do that. But first, I’m going to veer away from creativity and just talk about parenting for a bit because raising kids is absolutely the toughest gig you will ever get.
Can we just stop for a minute and marinate in that. It’s a big job! So if you’re doing it, then give yourself props for that. If you’re doing it well, give yourself a big round of applause. If you are, right now, questioning whether or not you’re doing it well…chances are you are an amazing parent.
I apologise if the US links are not great. I had a brief glance and it looked legit, so please let me know if there is a better resource.
In full transparency, I only know parenting from being an actual parent. I’ve never defused a bomb, or flown a jet, or had to deliver the worst news to a patient so I am just guessing that parenting is harder than all those things, mainly because you get a break from those things. You do them as a job and get to go home at the end of the day…if you’re lucky.
My own experience of parenting was actually super easy. I have one child, was able to stay home with him until he was at school and have the resources to fill all our needs. He was also a very happy, healthy child with a natural curiosity and intelligence that made his schooling a breeze. But because I’m a bit of a go-getter, and had good jobs and a business before having him, I still had days when I found the isolation and disconnection frustrating.
It’s the way our society is; parents isolated away in their own house, unsure of what to do, but also unsure of who they can trust for guidance. I was lucky that I was raised in a big family and knew I could call my parents (pharmacist and nurse) with any questions. I was an aunt at ten and 10 years older than my younger sister, so I knew my way around a baby…so to speak. It helped too that I had a teaching degree. So I had resources.
This reminds me of an art-related anecdote.
Years ago I was creating a series of artworks for a hotel. I had to make 132 artworks on canvas in 2 weeks. That wasn’t the hard part. My boss had to rush to China to oversee some printing jobs, so I also had to run the gallery and framing counter. Because I am an art-making machine I was powering through. I had a prototype and just had to smash out 1 an hour on average. I was a little stressed but I can always lose myself in that kind of work. It was going really well until I happened to look up at the prototype after working on a canvas. It looked NOTHING like the prototype! I would have to get the boys to make me another canvas because apart from the colours, it was completely wrong!
It occurred to me at that moment, that this is what’s going amiss with society. We’ve forgotten to look to tried and true methods. Parenting is hard, but there are so many easy things that we stuff up because we’re trying to reinvent the wheel, or we’re getting bad intel.
The best thing you can do for your kids is to learn daily about being the best parent you can be for your kids. Read, watch, listen and learn, from those who have come before, but also be wary of where your sources are getting their information. The more widely you read the less likely that you’ll develop a narrow focus and get things wrong. Ask your doctor questions about vaccinations, dietary requirements, and sleeping, then get a second opinion from another doctor. Ask the child health nurses and teachers. Read articles from trusted sources and books. But please don’t ask an Instagram influencer or even get your information solely from other parents, unless they have the appropriate education and experience!
There are plenty of resources out there and in this age of bright shiny websites, it can be a little daunting deciding who to listen to. Do your research. Your kids are worth it.
My friend proudly told me a story of how her 7-year-old daughter had cleaned her bedroom, laid out her clothes for gymnastics and completed all her homework. When my friend asked her daughter where she got the idea to do this, she said Youtube!
That afternoon the below video popped up on my Ted Talks email. If your children watch YouTube unsupervised you might want to watch this.
Quote of the Day ~
The potential possibilities of any child are the most intriguing and stimulating in all creation. ~ Ray L Wilber