We have had a lot of conversations with friends and colleagues lately about the transformations they are going through this year. The things they are saying no to, breaking old patterns and habits in search of simplicity, and new directions they are headed.
Do you ever feel like you’re a fish swimming upstream against the current? Or one of those ice breaking ships just clearing a path without noticeable change? I stood out by the water tonight, a place I like to go when I need to get clear about my thoughts. And as I stood against the wind, with thick fog in the distance, looking out as far as my eyes could reach, I could see a silver lining on the horizon. Beneath the silver lining the ice was breaking and melting away, and the sounds of the water flowed below.
Sometimes things happen when you least expect it, sometimes you choose a new path and sometimes you can’t see the road ahead of you, but if you look up and keep your focus ahead, a break in the current will come, the ice will move away and you’ll find your silver lining. I always tell the kids (mainly when they are walking while talking and looking backwards) ‘to look where you’re going, not where you’ve been’. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, but sometimes it’s the only thing you can do.
...without using your thumbs or uttering those two words…good job!
I’m definitely guilty of the ‘thumbs up’ and ‘good job’ more times then I would like to admit, but I am making a conscious effort to change the words I use with my children, especially in relation to their efforts, creations and learning. Today we are hosting a PD Day Art Camp for kids in the Studio and I thought about an article I had read months ago about how to respond to your childs art. I also thought about our teacher training, which focused on encouraging learning and next steps. So for those parents whose kids are in art camps, or kids who bring home art from school or create art at home, or for those aunts and uncles or grandparents who get that special drawing from a little one, and don’t know how to respond without a 'thumbs up' or a 'good job', I have put together my fav top five suggestions from my readings of how to respond to art…
So the next time your child shows you their art, try some of these tips to help you avoid the thumbs up and good job. Not that either of those are necessarily bad, they just aren't great. It's kind of like a pat on the back. The child has your approval but there wasn't further learning for them or inquiry/interest from you. Responding in these ways will help you to celebrate your child’s creative efforts, encourage their learning journey and shows that you are genuinely interested in what they are doing. For more information and further tips, check out this article on the Globe and Mail, written by artist and art therapist, Sarah Teitel.
Thanks for reading!