I'm over at Seven Thirty Three today to help celebrate Creativity Week! Come check it out!
I'm sharing an older tutorial that you may have missed. There have been a lot of fabulous tutorials posted over there this week!
Do you consider yourself creative? Do you celebrate the creativity in your children?
First sunset, by my little girl
When I was a little girl I always tried hard to "be the best". What that meant to me at the time was being the smartest in my class. Of course as an adult, I realize that grades do not always represent someone's intelligence, but as a kid that was always my goal. This was probably due to a million different reasons but the main reason being I wanted attention, and thankfully I chose that way to do it instead of ways that were much more destructive.
I changed schools a lot as a kid (6 times in 7 yrs of elementary). When I would start at a new school I would immediately "size up" the kids in my class so to speak. Figure out who I thought was the smartest and it was my mission to have better marks than they did.
Every year, at the end of year assemblies, I would get the main award for academic achievement.
Grade 6 was quite a pivotal year for me, because that year something changed. Duff was in my class. Now Duff, despite his unusual name, was really smart. If I got 99% on a test he would get 100%, and if I got 100% on a test he would get the bonus question right and get 102%. This was quite upsetting to me. Despite having all A+'s on each report card I knew Duff was just that little bit ahead of me all the time. I based my entire identity around being the "smart" girl and I was really crushed about it.
That year, at the end of year assembly, Duff was given the award for academic achievement.
I was give the "Art Award".
You know how some memories just completely stand out in your mind like they were yesterday? This is one of mine.
I distinctly remember the teacher telling everyone how creative I was, how my artwork had been such a pleasure to have in the classroom, how he hoped I continued being creative. Then, he held up this fish I had painted for all to see.
I was horrified. Embarrassed beyond compare! Why didn't he just give me an award for being an idiot? That is how I felt.
I remember walking up to the front, in front of the whole school, to accept my award. I knew my parents were out there somewhere and all I could think of was how disappointed they must be. I couldn't even look up. I'm certain my face was probably red. I was close to tears.
I'm not sure that my parents said anything to me about not receiving the academic achievement award. They weren't angry with me, possibly disappointed. I do know they didn't say anything about the art award. Being creative wasn't important. Being smart was.
The next year Duff was in my class again, but I worked extra hard to be a step ahead of him. In grade 7 you better believe that Academic Achievement award was mine! What was even better was that year, because it was the last of the elementary years, it came with a big trophy! That meant something to me. That trophy really represented my worth, or at least I thought it did.
Little Dude's first picture that is actually something. Pretty awesome for two, huh?
High school came, and despite friends and getting into a bit of trouble here and there, I maintained my A average at least for a little while. Even when I'd let things slide I never went below honor role. After all, if I didn't have that to identify who I was, what did I have?
One year in high school the guidance counsellor was helping me put together my timetable. She suggested I take Art amongst my semester of Math, Biology, and Chemistry. Art? I reluctantly agreed. To my surprise I LOVED it.
Of course I never told anyone I loved it. I loved it so much I would skip the odd lunch hour with my friends to go into the art room. I would tell people that I had to complete a project or I was going to lose marks or something like that. For the record, I have never missed an assignment or project in my life. Even despite skipping my French class the equivalent of several weeks in one semester I still made sure I had my "A". The truth was that I just loved being in the art room. I was never any good at painting or drawing, but I loved it just the same. At the end of the semester my teacher asked if he could keep a few of my projects for future classes. Of course I agreed, there was no way I was going to take any of that stuff home! It was going in the trash. I loved making it but wasn't proud of it once it was done.
I went on to start a degree in Science because it was a given that is what I should take. It killed me to sit through those classes everyday. In fact I didn't sit through them everyday. I would only go to Calculus every second day and in my first semester I got my first ever C+. I actually had a little cry about it when I was alone. Obviously it was coming, I only went to the class half the time, and it was Calculus
I moved out and got a full time job and for the first time was really living the life opposite to what others had expected me to do. It felt good. After a year I went back to school because I knew that was the right thing to do. I went into accounting. A nice stable career. 3 years of that and I realized I hated that too. I think I realized it right away but felt the need to continue for awhile. I have no desire to be an accountant! Rather ironic how the "smart" girl became so lost in what she wanted to be when she grew up.
While I was going to school I met my husband, we bought a house, got married. Fast forward we had our children and now I'm in my 30's.
If you asked me if I was creative I would say no. There is a small part of me that still feels ashamed by it. Why is that?
Growing up I don't ever remember having arts and crafts around our house. For fun I would write stories and daydream.
Making things is what makes me happy. Whether it is sewing, creating something for my home, or doing an afternoon craft with my kids. I also still like writing and do it late at night sometimes when the mood strikes.
Creativity is so important. My kids have always had craft supplies at their ready. Of course I get irritated at the mess they make but it is nothing short of amazing to see the way they express themselves through creating. I have seen creativity fuel a goofy mood and continue a wonderful day. I have seen creativity turn a grouchy horrible attitude into something happy. As toddlers it has helped them learn the basics like colors and counting and is wonderful for their fine motor skills. I have seen projects that I would have never dreamed. Once one of my girls actually made a wearable outfit, complete with purse, entirely out of construction paper!
My 6 yr old just wrote her first "book" a few weeks ago and how that brought back memories. The really cool part was how she stood in front of all of us. Her mom and dad and brother and sister. Reading it to us and showing us the pictures. I would have never done that for fear of it being criticized. I'll never forget her big smile beaming and her pointing out the things we may have missed in her pictures. My writing was hidden in a binder under my bed.
A page of my big girl's first book.
I want my kids to grow up embracing their creativity and never ever having the idea that it should be something to be ashamed of. It is a huge part of who they are!
The times when I am angry about cleaning up a million tiny shreds of paper, or wiping glue stick off the coffee table, or picking at dried up play doh that somehow made it to the shag area rug, I try to remind myself of that! :)