Friday, January 27, 2012

Creating Imagination

Most parents these days have not nurtured the creative nature in our children. Part of that is due to both parents working...I know I was in the rat race once upon a time. Unlike my children I learned how to quilt, knit, sew, crochet, paint, draw, and a host of other creative things from my mother and grandmother. I was luckier than most because my mother was an artist. She taught painting to other people in our basements or sun rooms around the world to earn money unlike many other mothers who had to actually go out to work.

On my days off, we would plan picnics in the park or at the beach. The kids would have friends spend the night, or a host of other things in the attempt of spending QUALITY time with my offspring. Although I taught all my girls to cross stitch and even my ex-husband, there is more to teaching creativity and fostering imagination. Both are the basis for any good writer.

One rainy off day, my children had thought their picnic ruined. I changed their minds with a quickness. I laid a blanket in the middle of the living room floor and told them the furniture was trees and bushes. They could climb on the trees if the wanted to. They soon warmed to the idea.

I broke out the old record player and put on the album "Teddy Bear' Picinic." Each one of the girls picked out their favorite stuffed animals to be guests and we all sat on the floor eating fried chicken legs, potato salad, and fruit ka-bobs. We sang along to the music, played other records, and poured imaginary tea into their tea sets. The teddy bears were honored guests with dollies coming in second.

My husband came home and wondered what all the commotion was. I told the kids that down the darkened path (hallway) was a pond and they were allowed to go swimming (a bath).   Yes, there was a mess in the bathroom after they finished, but the fun they had diving under the water looking at the fishes (toes). Meanwhile, I put away the food. I broke out the fondue pot for roasting marshmallows for s'mores after their swim. To the children it was almost as much fun using their imaginations and creating their new picnic world as being at the park.

Does your child have an imaginary friend? I did as a child and so did my children even though they had siblings to play with. We'd go out to dinner and a place would be set for their "friend." My current husband played along with our children and their friends.

One evening we were at a BBQ restaurant and the check came. Now, my number two daughter kept her imaginary friend much longer than my other children mainly because she had rheumatoid arthritis and her "friend" understood her pain and her embarrassment of having to wear braces on her limbs better than anyone else in the world. (But I digress) My husband fumbled around in his pocket for his wallet. My daughter leaned over, patted him on the arm and in a conspirator's tone whispered to him..."It's okay, Billy Bob Joe went to the kitchen to do the dishes." Billy Bob Joe joined us on many such occasions over the years and my husband would always lean over to my daughter and ask if Billy Bob Joe went to the kitchen before he paid the check. It was almost sad when he didn't join us on outing as my daughter outgrew him.

There is nothing wrong with encouraging a child's imagination and creative ability. No one ever gets whatever they are creating the first time. It takes practice. Are your children stuck in video this or that? The television? The computer? Turn them off. Why bother being creative when there is someone else around to do it for you?

Creativity and inspiration for writing comes from all sorts of sources. Whether it is based on true life events or world building for science fiction or fantasy. It should be nurtured and encouraged in children so they become well balanced adults. Life is just too serious not to be able to escape every once in a while. From little acorns mighty oaks grow. My grandchildren have the double impact of having parents and grandparent influence their creative juices. While none are writers, I do have an artist, musician, a builder (architect), two dancers in the brood so far for the future generations.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

1 comment:

Thomas Wilson said...

I liked the reference of the record player. It's too bad many of our young ones don't know what one of those are. My daughter who just turned twenty-one actually just got a record player that plugs into your computer, so you can play LP's and it turns them into MP3 files for her phone or MP3 player. Her favorite band Blink 182 just released their newest album and also released a record LP version!!

Also on Saturday and Sunday mornings I get up and make breakfast for the boys and it has become our little tradition to put the oldies 50&60's music on to dance and sing to while they set the table and daddy cooks breakfast.
These are the best parts of life!!