I wrote this last year for submission to a website that has since stopped accepting submissions. I then submitted to another site I was writing for, which has since been temporarily put on hold until further notice. I guess the only way it’d see the light of day, is to publish it here. What I wrote about in this post happened a while ago, but it still holds true.
When I was 10, I sliced my thumb open while carving a potato in art class. Instead of working on potato print art, I had to get my hand stitched up.
27 years on, I still can’t handle a glue gun, paint brush or a crochet needle. It’s best not to trust that I can actually cut in a straight line (I can’t). I can sew a button on – badly. I cannot fathom how people create magnificent pieces of art using just paper, glue, and string.
That hasn’t stopped me from trying to craft with my son (if nothing, I’m persistent). I had great hopes that by crafting together, I could teach my son some life skills and lessons: learning to be good with your hands, figuring things out, patience, the satisfaction of a job well done, creativity.
As much as we think we’re teaching our children, the truth is – they are our greatest teachers.
Edible peanut butter play dough – check. Cookie tray – check. Cookie cutters- check. Toothpicks – check. The plan? Make play dough stars and triangles using the cookie cutters. However, my preschooler had other ideas.He grabbed the toothpicks and started poking holes in the play dough, creating an intricate dotted design that I couldn’t have imagined. It was beautiful. I loved that he did something unexpected and different, without my prompting.
Too often, we feel accomplished only if we stick to the plan. We follow recipes to the letter. We aim to recreate the elaborate Lego building on the box cover. We color the sky blue, the grass green, the sunflower yellow, because that’s how it’s supposed to be. We look at Pinterest and feel that we too, need to be that Mom who makes birthday favors from scratch, or gets creative with milk and soap when the children get bored.
By allowing ourselves the grace to stray from the plan on occasion, we gives ourselves, and our children, the opportunity to stumble upon beauty that would be otherwise missed. We may not have baked the perfect cookie, but we had fun measuring and mixing. We didn’t recreate that Lego building exactly, but we built and stacked, laughed and learned. We may not have mastered paper mache, sewing, making sock puppets or painting murals, but we had fun giving it our best shot.
We, the craft-challenged, may not be the perfect Pinterest-worthy parent, but we don’t need to be.
What lessons have your children taught you?