Creating with children…really any two or more humans creating…is an organic way to open the heart allowing joy to enter.
Draw, sing, dance and tell a story.
It all seems rather simplistic but many have forgotten the ability to create.
Do you like to draw? Some of you may cringe at the thought while others are at their happiest while moving colors on an object.
Most children nine years old and younger have not reached the intimidation period in their lives. They don’t draw to please others. They can draw simply for happiness.
Their hands move, turning a dot into an image. This image can be scary, funny, sad, cute; the list as endless as the imagination.
An adult comes in contact with a child and there may be an awkwardness or even an irritation. Sit with paper and pencil or better yet, add color to the palate; the wall between the two worlds falls down, crumbles into the table that holds your masterpiece, seeps into the earth beneath you both as the energy around you vibrates in togetherness; a shared joy.
Share your thoughts about what each of you drew and then a smile surrounds you both.
Singing takes a little more courage, especially if the adult does not feel they have a harmonious voice. Ask the child to sing a simple song and see what comes out of them, join in the song if you know it and if you don’t then you can delight the child by asking them to teach it to you. The child will drink you in as if they have known you forever. If the child does not know a song, which is probably the child being shy more than not really knowing a song, then find a simple song and ask them to join in. If you find you are still singing alone then switch songs and ask them to tell you which song they think would win a contest, once they rate the song ask them to join you in the song they picked as the best. Let them have some control in the process, making it a safe space for them.
If singing seemed a bit more vulnerable then drawing, dancing is sure to take it one step further into peril. It goes beyond moving your hand or mouth, it is moving your whole body. A very young child is the most spontaneous and can dance almost anywhere. The older the child the safer the setting has to be. It would be best if the adult started a simple dance one could join in at once. You could ask the child if they wanted to show you a dance, and some may be dancers, but be prepared to lead the way, having a source of either live or recorded music available is preferred but you could hum a tune. When the dance is done you can decide if laughter will round out the experience or if you need to talk about how it felt; an example is, “That was fun, I really needed that.” An older child may want to show you a move they learned with friends, like the electric slide or cupid shuffle. This gets interesting but can really come in handy at the next wedding or fund raising dance you attend.
Telling a story is something almost lost in our day and age but worth keeping alive. Start when they are young and get them to continue to tell stories at family get togethers. When they are little you can tell a bedtime story instead of reading a book. Get them to tell you a goodnight story after they learn the concept. How nice it would be if we would gather around at gathering (therefore the name) and each tell a story, everyone intently watching the story teller, remaining quiet till the end and then all chatting about it till the next person gets their chance. It would slow the mind down and make us all better listeners and tellers, learning the balance of sharing and receiving, teaching us the process through our ears and eyes. You can even make the story a shared one by one person starting the story and then everyone adding their part to it going around the circle once or twice.
I have told a few stories that some might consider white lies but I prefer referring to them as creative adventures.
Here’s an example:
While riding on a car ferry back to St John we would pass a small island with a fabulous house perched right on the top. You could see all the decks around the house and I can only imagine there is a large swimming pool as the centerpiece. My kids were about 8 and 10. While pointing out the house I would ask them if they remembered our visits there. I told them when they were little we would hang out at the house and swim. I would elaborate stories about things we did; once you went to a birthday party there and everyone got to mix there own ice cream like they do at cold stone–or–we had so much fun swinging on the hammocks holding iguanas while drinking fruit smoothies. They didn’t remember but they paused awhile imagining how much fun that must of been.They could see themselves there in that fabulous house forging a memory. Granted this memory was something that never happened on a physical plane but yet in their mind it was now real. When they were a little bit older I told them the stories were made up but I explained the art of story telling and how creative our minds can be when creating happy experiences. They learned the power of the mind to choose what they decide to think about in a positive light and that we can go to the most exotic places on earth even if it is only in our mind. I believe it also allows us to believe many more doors can be open just by imagining them open. If we can see it then it is so much more possible for it to become a reality.
I think we all want our children to not be afraid to have new experiences.
So draw, sing, dance and tell a story.
I’m betting you will see your heart soar with joy…sharing the ride.