While it's true that I am passionate about instilling a love of all things creative in children, I'm even more passionate about teaching children to use their creative pursuits to make the world a better place. Most kids come with a dynamic little package of natural creativity, love, acceptance, and generosity. We, as parents and community leaders, need to capture that energy and run with it.
We need to learn to focus our children's creative efforts outward, not inward. We need to stop thinking in terms of having our children make "Sunday school crafts" or things that they make on Sunday mornings and are thrown away on Sunday evenings, and instead lets turn our energy towards coordinating "creative outreach events".
What exactly would it look like if your child's creativity sessions yeilded more than just a pile of papers to hang on the fridge for a few days before rotating it out for the next project. What if they made their creations as a way to encourage others in their community? Stick with me here, I'm thinking more than just telling them to make something for Grandma and Teacher.
Don't get m wrong, we love Grandma's, we love teachers and principals, they all need to be encouraged. But lets not stop with people we know. Lets take a real look at the big picture and see who really needs the love and encouragement that our children have to offer. What if they took it upon themselves to make something creative to encourage the elderly in the nursing home, or people serving in the military? Do homeless people in your community need a reason to smile? What about those ladies at the battered women's shelter?
In addition to the boxes of stuff we've taken over to the senior center, I personally have had my girls help me make fleece tie blankets for foster kids and battered women. And all of my kids (and my mother-in-law) have helped me make hats and mittens for people living in Pakistan. The sky is the limit as to what your children can create, and the joy that they can bring.
The list of hurting people on our planet far outweighs the tonage of goofy art projects (I mean wonderful acts of creativity) your child will ever be able to make. Look around and identify groups in your community that need what your child has to make. Make some phone calls.
Go forth and create change.
Have ideas for creative change to share? Post a link so we can see how your child's creative expression has changed someone's day.