Betty J. Slade



    Children with Creative Minds

    Creative children come in different packages, just like the many colors in a paint box. They all have certain similar traits, yet, they are of all different colors and hues. 

    Do you have a child who can not be moved except by inspiration, who must have it perfect or it goes in the trash?  Do you have a child who has to do it his way, who is a dreamer and is too busy dreaming to take out the trash?  “What trash?” he asks, staring right at it. Your child is probably an artist.

    Well, hold on to your socks. Your struggles and blessings have just begun.  These children will take you to the length of your tether and also beyond your wildest dreams.  However, they will grow up one day. But today, that day may seem far away.

    We have such a child, who is now grown.  We were singing one song and he was humming words to something that wasn’t yet written.  We begged him, pleaded with him, bribed him, prayed for him, but couldn’t appeal to him. To say the least, we were exasperated with him and he was exasperated with us.  We didn’t see the signs of a creative child. We only saw a child who wouldn’t do it our way. His talents were over the top.  Could I get him to practice the piano, not on his life.  Would he sing for his mother’s friends, no way! I wanted to brag on him and show off his many talents. He was appalled and wanted to hide.  You can see where this story is going.  Downhill fast! 

    In their struggle to be independent, there is a breaking away point.  The more you fight to make them the way you think they should be, the harder they resist to do it their way.  You are adding to their struggle because you do not understand who they are to be.

    I asked Gail Hershey, art teacher of the Middle School, if she found the same traits in her art students. She was very optimistic, saying, “My students have lots of elaborate ideas.  They are not afraid to take risks. I give them a project and they think in ways I could never imagine, such as Buddha’s head coming out of a dragon.”

    Gail continues, “To get them to finish is the biggest challenge.  They want to keep working on their art.  Half finished is perfect, but not perfect enough for them.  If the piece is not up to their expectations, they throw it away and start again.  They start over again and again. I tell them to trust themselves.  You can do it and what you’ve done is good.”

    So, for you who wonder what to do with that artistic child who has found his way into your home, take ease. This child is only half baked, but the ingredients in him gives him gourmet taste and a fascination for more than you yourself can provide or imagine.

    This article was prompted by a conversation with my daughter.  She is raising a creative child who is like a boulder that can not be moved.  When I serve him a meal, he is not haughty, but very specific about how he wants his plate to look and he tells me, “Grandma, I want my quesadillas cut in 6 pieces with a dollop of sour cream in the middle”.  Do I see those artistic traits?  You bet.

    Daily calls to his mother from the school teachers are becoming the norm.  “In elementary school, he was a good student, what happened?” My daughter reminds her husband, “The stubbornness we struggle with today will be a strength we will admire and count on as he gets older.”

    And, I remind her of her brother, who is now forty years old and the head of a successful company of 3,000 people in the Philippines.  His employees dearly love him and he dines with the President of the Philippines.  The struggle that he had with us is a part of the understanding and caring he has for his employees.  He has far surpassed our dreams for him.  Does he sing?  Only when he wants to!  Do I have any bragging rights? No, I just see the grace of God. I’m thankful that we all are singing a new song today, and it’s kinda catchy!

    The Final Brushstroke!  Artistic children are songs that are in the making, their lyrics are being written in their struggle.


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