by Tamara Glasner
In the beginning…God Created!
He loves His creation and we are made in His image and after Him we create.
We create to bring him glory.
From the time our children were very young, we could see the joy and laughter that came as they ventured out creatively. Everything from play-dough sculptures, paper cut-out flowers arrangements, beautiful little songs, to after dinner musical productions (and the list goes on!)
We didn’t realize that these early years of having fun were the foundation for a lifetime of gifts that would bless our children’s future work, education, relationships, and spirits.
Creativity is a fragile thing. One must carefully guide little ones as they are learning how to play and how to create. God gave us the most beautiful textbook on learning. It’s called the Bible. We can learn His ways and His desires as we create, following His example as the Master Artist.
What so ever things are lovely…..
I praise you…
The joy of the Lord…
By focusing on the lovely, on praise, and on joy, we can make a huge impact on the world. This doesn’t mean we shy away from pain. But it does mean we strive for our creative efforts to encourage others to emulate what God says we should emulate. It means we embrace and seek after the ‘sanctified imagination.’
Cultivating Godly Creativity
When our girls were young, we spent a lot of time ‘playing with them.’ It was important to help promote ‘thinking outside the box’ that honored God.
As parents, sometimes we need to get the ball rolling. As your children get the hang of it they will need you less and less. There are tons of great examples for prompting creativity, whether in play or the arts.
Here are a few examples:
- Pretend your living room is a ship, or perhaps a fort or a cave. Make up a fun and exciting story and get the kids to build structures with pillows, blankets etc. to make it seem real! You start the story, but let your kids finish it. Teach them what is an acceptable story line (or not) so that their creative thoughts and ideas are centered on the the right things.
- Encourage your little ones to compose a song or paint a painting of something that makes them happy.
- Ask one to make a special Italian sauce to go with the hamburger meat in the fridge. Maybe ask them to make a something that accompanies what they may be studying….(flatbread from the Mediterranean, Great Depression-era desserts, etc.)
The Power of a Prompt
Lawrence, my husband, was a natural storyteller and would tell bedtime stories that were simple and funny. To this day, the girls can retell many of these tales with joy and laughter. This was an important example to them how to think of a story on their own.
Prompting your children and leading by example are very valuable tools in the creative arts. As little ones are growing and exploring ways to play, be there. Your job as a parent is to provide loving and careful guidance. You can direct your child so their behavior is edifying and life-giving and FUN.
If you do your job right, they will carry lessons learned through creative-play their entire lives! This is how future doctors, missionaries, and artists are born.
It is a vulnerable place to share your work with others… So, make your family a SAFE place to ‘reveal’ creations, whatever medium they come in, (music, song, dance, story, poem, painting, food creations, etc.).
A safe place is one where words are carefully shared, criticism weighed before being offered, and applause given for trying, whether the outcome is the desired one or not.
As your children are embarking on their creative journeys, they will need your encouragement and applause to feel free to go for it more and more. Too much criticism can shut down the free flow and joy of the process. (We have done it both ways and regret when we are too critical or perfectionistic!)
Remember, every family is on a journey. We are always trying to find better ways to communicate and love more like Yeshua. But… we are on this journey together, and we are persistent to stay in forgiveness and champion each other above ourselves so that God will be glorified. This new year, I encourage you to commit your family’s creativity to the Lord. You will be very pleased with the results!