This week I’m inviting you to play with your children.  If you don’t have a child, borrow one; his/her parent will probably make you dinner.  If you have more than one child, choose your favourite and complete this task.  (I’m kidding!  What I meant was choose the one who is least likely to drive you crazy).  You CAN complete this task with more than one child at a time but I’ll leave that up to you.

Is there an activity that your child loves to do that you aren’t a huge fan of?  Maybe there’s a mess-factor involved (glitter-glue, paint, mud) or maybe a set-up factor you dread (covering up all your nice furniture with sheets or moving the patio chairs out of the way).  Whatever it is that you tend to say “No!” to, do it this week.

My daughter loves to paint.  Like LOVES to paint.  I’m not too concerned about the mess factor with her because she is very responsible with materials and takes her painting very seriously.  It’s her “work,” as she calls it.  But I do get annoyed when I have to stop what I’m doing to set it all up (which really takes 2 minutes) and it also takes a lot of restraint on my part to NOT tell her how to do her work.  I am much better at this now, but I used to feel that as her mother I should teach her how to paint the way I taught her how to scoop up food in her spoon – with demonstration, step-by-step instruction and re-direction when she did it wrong.  Oops!  But it’s the truth.  If you were a fly on the wall in my studio, you would have heard me say things like “You don’t have any paint in this corner, you need to add some colour here.”  Or “Don’t keep painting in the same spot over and over with all the different colours.  Now it’s just a brown puddle!”  (It really was, but maybe she wanted to make a brown puddle?!)

Getting over myself and submitting to her creativity and joy has been a huge burden off my shoulders.  It’s actually one less thing I need to manage!  The best part is that it frees up my energy so that I can paint alongside her! 

I can stop critiquing her work and start creating my own. 

So, what are YOU going to do this week with JOY and LIBERATION that you normally do with dread and frustration?

After you complete this task, take a moment to reflect.  Grab your journal or your task binder and answer the following questions (also found here):

  • Why did you choose this particular activity?
  • What was your favourite part?  Your least favourite part?  Did any of this surprise you?
  • What expressions were seen or heard during the activity?  Think about the look on the child’s face or something he/she said.
  • How about you?  Did you crack a smile?  Laugh out loud?  Glance at the clock often?
  • If you were to do this again next week, would you choose a different activity or stick with the same one?
  • Can you generate a list of activities you think you could really enjoy with a child?

I’d love to hear what kinds of creative adventures you had – we could all use some inspiration!  Post your comments below!