Once upon a time, God made me. I plopped into this world with a pretty big thud (over 9 lbs) and alone. My twin brother decided to meet me in heaven later. So here I was, on this earth and from day one there was a fire in my eyes. A sweet fire, but a fire nonetheless. I grew with that fire sparking, always sparking, lots of life, lots of drive. Fast forward 20 years or so and I made some really stupid choices to allow another human person to douse my fire, diminish my spark, lesson my drive. I believed an idiot. And I didn’t realize it at the time, but believing an idiot over the truth made me an idiot too, against the truth of who I was I believed a clueless wonder, a moron who made someone (me in this case) feel like less to feel like more. And dumb me of ancient past believed such lies and a fire, born to blaze eternally, went out. Not completely because it is innate. A fire was still perking unseen, awaiting a new spark. Fast forward past one misfit marriage into one of much more freedom and finally what relit the flame of life, of drive, of passions and pursuits for God, of peaceful movement forward was a spark of love and acceptance and fitting somewhere with someone whole who fit back. And life moves on again, fire is reborn, stronger and wiser than it was before and I see God’s hand in this. I feel the passion for life I once had, I hear the calm reaching hand of the Almighty coming toward me and feel Him lifting my head. So never underestimate the power of your love on another’s life. Love may mean the difference for them, may relight the fire in their eyes. And loving them and making a difference to them may relight your own fire. Sometimes doing what seems hopeless brings hope when done anyway. Have a goal of relighting at least one fire in your lifetime. What a gift that is! What a blessing!
Sometimes when an artist is struggling to get their voice, someone admiring their work will inspire them to express themselves in a way that rises higher than any previous attempt. And when that inspiring admiration comes from someone who loves them, the message rings more pure. For you see, the sensitive artist needs encouragement five million time more than criticism in order to strike up the confidence to shine their own star. An artist may seem replete with confidence to get where they are when you see them but the closer you get to their steps, you look ahead with them and see a short distance only as they do because their journey is not yet clear. However, you look behind and see what amazing strides have been taken. We are all on a journey. The artist has a journey that ties their creativity to their present location. The wise lover of an artist will inspire their artist with admiration and encouragement and thus push them into the unknown where their artistry takes them to a new place on their journey. With proper encouragement and trusted arms to hold onto, the artist will flourish in their artistry and be more of who they can be. Remember the importance of your words. Remember the importance of your glances and supportive and balancing arms to the sensitive soul. Remember that sounds from criticism cut down the potential of the sweet soul and it takes long strides in the positive to overcome short stops in the negative. Consider your children to be artists in this light. Children, not only your own but all crossing your path, need positivity to flourish. And in common with the artist, will not ask you for this help. This does not mean they don’t need it. It may mean they don’t realize how badly they need it. The only exception to this is the Great Artist, God the Creator. He does not need our admiration to be I worked to improve. He is perfect and does the encouraging. This is beautiful.
I teach my children at home. Of course every good parent does, however not every parent makes it their full time vocation. So, art class has always been my and my kids’ favorite class. To motivate them and get them into an out of the box style as art is, we do several things. We get out into nature. Sometimes it is a park and sometimes it is the back yard or looking out the window driving on an errand. Nature has always been our greatest motivating force for art and so many other inspirations. This accomplishes the goal of appreciating beauty and discovering what makes things beautiful and what color combinations work in nature. Consequently, this same practice also connects us stronger to the Great Artist who made everything we know of including us. So, appreciating His artistry builds the confidence to know that we have a great artistic heritage in our Heavenly Father. Another practice is to look at what odds and ends we have around the house and how they can be put together. This is a great way to recycle and we keep and use a lot of things people usually throw away. I find it absurd to throw things out and then buy art supplies. Perhaps some people have money to burn but I think this is better stewardship for us right now. So, we put things together and paint and sand or whatever is needed. Sometimes the kids will come up with an item they had never seen but it was a usable or popular household item at one time. Those are my proud moments. The moral here is that art can be 3-D and can actually be practical. Another tool we will use is putting ingredients together in the kitchen and see what happens. Granted, this can cross into the boundary of chemistry but in real life things overlap. The whole idea is to think out of the box. The mind is where art really happens and then other skills work to reproduce that idea. However, have you ever really watched food coloring spread in oil or water or both and really taken time to watch it. It is beautiful! Art has texture if it is any good. It can have physical texture or shading texture or other methods of texture. So paying attention to what gives you that texture is a big deal. Another technique we use is encouraging the mixing of colors. It is one thing to say that yellow and red make orange and quite another to mix yellow and red paint then add a little white or black. What did that do? What happens with a touch of blue then? The purpose here is discovery, trial and error and experimentation. All of these abilities make for a great artist and a pretty amazing person. The biggest concepts to go away with in introducing and plunging into art with your children is that taking the time to really observe and appreciate and experiment and notice teeny tiny details overlooked if moving too fast…these are the wonderful qualities that will also make you appreciate God and His creation and life and its treasure. Teaching children art is teaching them respect and appreciation for the effort it takes to make something. We can be more aware of things of beauty and intention going on around us every minute. You live in the moment. That moment is art.