Nurture Creativity With Intention and Imagination: A Reminder to Myself to Lead My Kids

It's 10am. Courtney is gone, seemingly for her one bit of respite for the week. I didn't sleep as well as I would have liked, though I slept better than her. Hosanna (2), Theo (8 months) and I have all had breakfast, and now it's time to play. We go downstairs to our play area, greeted by plenty of books, toys, art supplies and things to do. But I don't do anything. I sit, keeping a cursory awareness of the kids, and fight with myself as I check out to other thoughts, projects, places and people. "Hosanna will want some free play anyway," I think to myself. Role playing with some of her favorite Daniel Tiger characters, she seems happy enough, interested in her own little world. Just like daddy. 

In only a matter of minutes, she'll be ready to move on to other things... All of a sudden, that time is now. "Play mario game," "watch kung fu panda," "watch Daniel Tiger." These are some of the first suggestions, telling me that the last time I was in this situation, rather than nurturing creativity, I found a technological babysitter. I tell her no to the screen-watching activities and suggest some other games instead. No dice, she doesn't seem interested. Then a question comes to mind: "Why am I letting her run our play time?" It's not that there is anything wrong with free play, it's a healthy part of the day. I need free play to sometimes, to unwind and to just be. It's not that I "ought to" avoid asking Hosanna for input. It's simply that I am needed to lead. To show up. Be present. Engage. Enjoy. 
More than passing the time, I want to play with my kids and lead them in exploring and creating. I want to nurture creativity with intention and imagination. 

To lead Hosanna and Theo in play and learning to their fullest potential and to mine, I need to do my "home work." I can set aside time to plan, creating some structure or flow to the time we have. I can set my intentions to be engaged and to do certain kinds of activities while avoiding others. I can brainstorm ways to not only pass the time, but enjoy it. In the spur of the moment, where many of my best ideas show up, I can act on things that are outside the box—even if that means more work for me. We can play and explore with others beyond our family or by ourselves, whatever helps us all be more awake and aware. We can do all kinds of things, as long as I remember: If it's to be, it's up to me. 

I'm not always as present and intentional with my kids as I desire to be. It can be easier to let Hosanna or Theo run amok and do their own thing than to lead them in play, in exploring, in learning. But often, we don't enjoy the time when spent aimlessly. It's easy enough to tune out, check out, disengage and live elsewhere... But another reality is possible. Hosanna will follow my lead if I lead generously and with her best interests clearly imprinted on my heart and mind. Theo will probably enjoy wherever we go and whatever we do, but I know he enjoys himself most when he is being played with, loved and engaged, not just observed. When Courtney is home or when she's gone, whether we're with others or only gathered as a family...
I want to play with my kids and lead them in exploring and creating. I want to nurture creativity with intention and imagination. 
Benjamin FaderComment