Everything was created by him, everything in heaven and on earth, everything seen and unseen, including all forces and powers, and all rulers and authorities. All things were created by God’s Son, and everything was made for him. (CEV) Colossians 1:16
We might think of creative people as those engaged in the arts—music, dance, painting, etc. But if we truly believe that we are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), we understand that all of us are creative. Our children have different gifts, but every one of them is creative. When they recognize and apply their creativity, they grow in God and as humans, and they shine out the beauty of God more brightly. What are some practical ways we as parents can nurture our kids’ creativity?
According to Colossians 1:16, everything that God created points to God’s character and goodness. When we agree with God that he has made us as creative individuals, we show him to the world—and to our children. When we dismiss our own creativity, we undervalue the image of God in us, perhaps suggesting to our children that we ourselves don’t really believe what we tell them to believe.
Describe what you do in everyday life in creative terms. How did you solve a problem at your job? In what ways did you modify that recipe for dinner? Have you ever made something out of raw materials? Tell the kids about it. If you have a hobby, share what you love about it with your children. If you don’t, find creative activities that you can do for your own enjoyment; talk to your kids about them, and then invite your kids into those activities with you.
Notice and Affirm
Our kids are constantly doing creative things. Pay close attention to what they do throughout the day. Affirm their creativity when you observe them solve a problem, come up with an idea, serve someone else, or build something. If they made something that can be displayed, show it off! As often as you can, give them your full attention during these moments. Kids love it when their parents see them doing creative things; it really boosts their creative confidence.
When their creative endeavors don’t work out, acknowledge how frustrating it is when we mess up. This is normal; we learn by making mistakes. Tell them stories about times you failed at something. Then encourage them to try again.
Appreciate and Apply
One of the best ways to inspire creativity is to watch someone doing creative work, whether by video or in person. Afterward, try it yourselves. Watch Bob Ross create some happy little trees, then pull out the paints and paint your own. Listen to a solo drum performance, then get out the pots and pans and make some noise!
Find everyday objects and talk about how they might have been made, then see if you got it right. Go and make your own version of those objects with whatever you have on hand. Plant flowers and make meals together, celebrating God’s creativity in the plants and flavors you encounter.
When we celebrate God’s creativity in us, we shape ourselves and our children into constant worshippers. We will exemplify the intentional living in Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem:
“Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”
Want to do a deep dive? Check out Family Fire's article Encouraging the Creativity of Children