One thing I have loved about schooling at home these past few years is the open time and space for my kids to explore and create whenever inspiration strikes. For this sweet chica, inspiration strikes multiple times a day, and she has created all sorts of interesting things out of ordinary household items. This time it was an ‘owl kite’ that she found directions for in a library book. I confess I immediately thought it was a fish, but she quickly corrected me. She asked me for days about getting some wire for the project and because of the many other things on my mind (plus the fact that at first I had no idea what she wanted wire for) it took me a few days to dig some out for her. Once she had the wire in hand, she sat for several hours crafting this beauty, remaking the wire frame a few times because it ‘just didn’t look like an owl’.
When she came to me several hours later with this completed kite, I was a bit surprised at how well it turned out…not that I was surprised by her creativity, but I was surprised that she hadn’t called upon me to assist her in crafting any part of it, save procuring the wire. Usually she is bugging me about doing this thing or that, and while I do sometimes oblige her, a lot of times I either can’t or don’t want to.
She may be the oldest of the bunch, but she is also the most scatter-brained, and hands down makes the biggest messes of any of the kids. It drives me nuts because every time I turn around she has left another pile of supplies half-finished out in a space we need to utilize for something else. Of course it bugs me mostly because she is just like me. Leaping from one idea to the next without ever finishing because how can one possibly suffer through the finishing of a task when there is a whole new idea to chase after? Guilty as charged. And yet, there is the reality that some things must be finished. And every project has to be cleaned up by someone. Sometimes I don’t want her to create new things because it is not convenient for me. Sad truth.
In reflecting on her strengths and weaknesses (ok, and mine too) I came to the realization that I have a choice to make about how to respond to her creativity. I can either make time and space (and joyful attitude and supplies ready) that give her freedom to create, or I can shut her down just because I don’t want a mess on the dining room table, forgetting that her presence in our family is the very reason I have been able to recapture wonder and unlock my own creativity in recent years. I don’t want to slow or stifle her unique brilliance, even if it does cost me a tidy room. Of course, that doesn’t mean we won’t keep working on how to start, finish, and clean up our own creative projects…but it seems we’re on our way to that, if this kite is any indication.
She asked to go out in the yard to fly the kite, so of course I had to bring the camera. I love the above photos of the little sister following behind and the photo below of her goofy teeth (a perfect picture of her equally goofy and joyful personality). The takeaway for today….take time for the sweet and silly things your child likes to do. They are only children for a short while, and inconvenience is no reason to miss the delight and wonder. I swear it was just yesterday she was the size that the little sister is now. Excuse me while I go kiss her sleeping head with a tear in my eye.