Live your own life, paint your own pictures

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Something I have been working on the last 13 years (and no doubt it is a lifes work!)   is really listening to my children (and to others). To really hear them and accept that what they are saying is true for them. Not to try and change them, make them walk my path, be more like me. I am learning to celebrate our differences and understand that everyone is on their own path and doing what they need to be doing. To understand that they are their own people, living their own lives and not mine.
I am lucky that my kids really get this and don’t allow me to put my dreams on to them. They clearly tell me if I am trying to project my own wishes on to them. “Mum if you want to do that, then you do it, I am quite happy doing this…’ that sort of thing.  I love it when they tell me this, it really affirms that I am doing my job as a parent well when they tell me to butt out!
A friend who is a teacher said recently that his aim was to be redundant by the end of the year – ie the kids not needing him. I guess that is the same with parenting, one of your hopes for your children is their independence.
To be honest a secret hankering I have  is that I would  like one of my kids to be an artist (and yes I know we are all artists in our own sweet way…) Thankfully Charlie likes to draw and sketch. He creates greatly detailed inventions and designs. I know that Billy (our friend who is staying with us) is also an artist. So the other day I got out the paints and packed away any  expectations.

Charlie and Billy sat down and painted for an hour. At the end Billy had a gorgeous painting of a sunset, Charlie had been mixing colours.

Billy’s sunset painting

Here is Charlie mixing up colours

And that is OK. He had used heaps of paint, had a great time and delighted in telling me about the different colours he had created.
If I had wanted a pile of pleasing-to-look-at paintings I know I needed to do them myself.

The painting I have done has been really enjoyable.  Mostly I have done mandalas like this –

I have learned to embrace the individual differences and love the way chldren think outside the square. My kids always do this when the visual arts are involved I am so thankful they haven’t been conditioned to produce something the same as everyone else. That they have the confidence to express themselves to do what they need to do.
Any artwork they produce is always quirky to say the least and I am love that.  Great things have often come from those who see things differently, those who walk their own path and hear a different beat.
And I reckon the world can always do with a bit more of the quirky and unconventional.

Some of the quirky in life….
Tapa inspired square mandala

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2 responses »

  1. The other day I told my 4 year old daughter that I didn’t like her bright red ‘Mickey Mouse’ T-shirt that she’d been given as a gift. I asked her if she’d change into something else when we went out but that it was fine to wear at home. She started crying and crying – she was SO upset that I didn’t like it, she pleaded with me to like it. I said, ‘Darling, it’s totally fine for you to like whatever you like and for me to like whatever I like. We don’t have to like the same things. It doesn’t matter. We can be different. I just don’t like that shirt and we’re going out. I’d prefer you to wear something else but it’s totally fine for you to still like it and wear it whenever you like at home.” The problem was not not wearing it, it was that I didn’t like what she liked. I had never had this with my son, so it came as a big surprise to me. He couldn’t care less if we disagreed about things (and often did)! I want to encourage her to also find and follow her own beat, which is partly why I don’t want her to go to school, to feel and possibly cave into all that pressure to conform. My son was unhappy at school because he pushed against it. I could see her being ‘happy’ at school, ‘happy’ to conform but it absolutely not being good for her. Thanks for this post 🙂

  2. Inspiring words of wisdom! I painted my children’s picture for the last 25 years…..now it has turned to horrible grafitti. I am going to buy my grandaughter her own paint set today! Thank you!

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