Preach and Practice

When my firstborn was a toddler, he had no interest in arts and crafts. He didn’t want to color and he cringed at finger paints. A part of me was taken aback–didn’t all preschoolers love crayons and paints? And a part of me was a little sad–his Daddy and I loved art.

But we didn’t push it. There were other interests that West was showing skill, such as sports and games.  So like any devoted parents, we encouraged him in those.

Then someone told me, “If you want your kid to read, then you gotta read in front of them.”

This hit home. I knew the message didn’t just pertain to reading. So instead of waiting until nap time to draw in my art journal, I invited West to sit with me at the table while I practiced fonts. On Saturday mornings Michael would doodle or work on a canvas. Soon enough, West asked for paper and pens and colored pencils and markers. He asked for a sketchbook “like Daddy”.

We watched West not only take an interest in this creative expression, but blossom into a good artist. Now he spends “quiet time” almost everyday drawing from tutorials and from his own imagination. He has filled up four big sketchbooks, recently got a Prismacolor colored pencil set like me, and frequently hosts “art shows” where he invites family and friends to view and purchase his drawings.

IMG_9200As parents, we want a rich childhood for our kids, which most of us agree includes imagination and creativity. Kids are naturally wired for this, but sometimes they need some introduction or exposure or encouragement. They need their moms and dads.

What would you love to see your kids doing creatively? You fill in the blank: “If I want my kids to________________________, then they need to see me__________________________.

Warning: you may have to step out of your comfort zone! You may need to be a student right along with your kids. You may need to do some research and prep. But it will be good not only for them, but for you too. If nothing else, you’ll be spending time with your kids, which is priceless.

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Here’s a list of materials and resources that have been a great asset to West’s artistic development:

Art for Kids Hub YouTube–I can’t rave enough about this professional artist/dad who does step-by-step drawing lessons for kids. Link HERE

Pentalic Sketchbook, hardbound–I soon got tired of loose papers all over the house that were too precious to be thrown away. Now West keeps all his drawings in one place, and he can look back on his work and see how much he’s grown. He can also take it anywhere. Amazon Link HERE

Prismacolor Premier colored pencils–48 colors to choose from, good quality, and well-contained in a tin box with organized trays. I use these too. Amazon Link HERE

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