Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Draw Out Your Child’s Qualities

Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.—Proverbs 22:6 NASB

All the 8-1/2" by 11" construction paper works of art bordering the wall were the same—except for one.

    Before I asked—I knew.

    "Which one is Kyle's?"

    "That one," the teacher said, pointing to the solitary design that failed her robotically-created-on-a-Chinese-assembly-line inspection. "Kyle didn't follow my directions." Her tone expressed displeasure with my little Picasso's masterpiece.

    "I love it. It's so-o-o creative." I felt satisfaction: Kyle has far too much inner silly putty to allow someone to squish his creative voice.

    I felt irritated with the teacher. Art is not about gluing cookie-cutter shapes in a predetermined arrangement. Creativity is about artistic vision.

Out of Tune or Perfect Pitch?

Dancing to the tune of a different drummer is not easy. I know. What message did others communicate regarding my inner rhythm and melody?

    Something is wrong with me.

    The great painter and sculptor Michelangelo offers a parenting song I enjoy singing: "In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it."

Chisel Out the Best

My sons are more than pliable clay or plaster to cast in a rigid mold: They are exquisite pieces of uncut marble. Like the wandering veins of marble, their interests, personalities and inherent strengths and weaknesses meander in unexpected directions.

    I respect what they think and feel. To bring my sons' God-given essences to the surface, I look for their inner motivations, offer encouragement and then provide the tools and opportunities I can afford.

    I love Kristoffer and Kyle unconditionally. It's my responsibility to encourage their inner sacred realm. I want them to know, "I'm on God's side. I want you to be all He created you to be."

    Kyle, my sensitive dreamer, takes after my imaginative traits. Kristoffer, my little Army man, picked up my down-to-earth, let's-get-real qualities. Only camouflage face paint sticks purchased at the Army Surplus Store spark his artistic interest.

    Releasing my sons' imaginations takes the painstaking patience of a sculptor. Yep! Sometimes I hammer a bit too hard, chip away in wrong areas or chisel deep, unnecessary scrapes.

    I ask, "Will you forgive me?" and then verbalize my admiration of their giftings. "Kyle, I love the colors you chose. Your design is striking."

    "Kristoffer, you did a great job painting camouflage on your face. I could hardly find you. I cannot believe how high you climbed the tree. You are so courageous. I'm glad God made you so strong."

    I admire my sons' incredible, wonderful one-of-a-kind uniqueness. In my loudest Mom-cheerleader's voice, I shout, "You go, guys! I'm proud of you."

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