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Ahhhhhh! Summer break!!!! We are basking in the routine of sleeping in, wearing pajamas until lunchtime, working in the garden, and then running in the sprinkler to cool off. For two summers in a row I was pregnant and so miserable that I missed out on a lot of the fun that comes along this season but not this year. This year, I am saying no to a lot of good things so as not to miss out doing what I want most.
This morning was to be the start of our drawing lessons. I fell in love with Drawing with Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too by Mona Brookes last fall but couldn’t make it work into our already packed schedule so I shelved it until now. By the time I got showed and dressed my kids had come up with a plan of their own for the morning: making paper crowns. They had paper, scissors, and markers already out on the dining table so I just went with it. Making is making, right?
As goes all craft projects with little humans, it only took about five minutes for disaster to strike. Child #2 made one of his dots bigger than all the others which ruined the pattern he had in his minds so he MUST start over. Then Child #3 colored over the same spot so many times as to cause a slight tear in the paper. There was just no consoling either of them. My mantras about valuing the process, taking risks with our art, and there being no such things as mistakes had absolutely no effect on the flow of tears rolling down their little cheeks.
So I changed tactics. “Who wants to hear about some of Mommy’s art mess ups? Who wants to see what I did to fix them?” They immediately perked up. At that very moment, I was printing a cyanotype on top of one that did not turn out very well. While doing a double exposure was something I wanted to experiment with, I was doing it out of an attempt to correct/improve upon one that did not turn out at all.
In case that example wasn’t enough for them, I pulled out a print that accidentally fell onto my paint-filled palette. “See here, this big blob of pink. That wasn’t supposed to happen, but I kinda liked it so I dropped it again on the paint to make it look like it was part of the design.” Finally, the light bulbs turned on!!! #2 colored the tops of each triangle in his crown with a black marker and began to make a new pattern. #3 used a whole punch over the part that was ripped and then punched over the middle of each point.
Not only was our morning saved, but my kids learned one of the biggest secrets to success in life: resilient people turn their mistakes into masterpieces. This isn’t just a lesson for artists, but for everyone who takes risks, tries new things, and dares to live a great life!
Brené Brown writes in her book Rising Strong,
" The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness - even our wholeheartedness - actually depends on the integration of all of experiences including the falls."
I find it so much easier to be comfortable with my weakness when I am around others who do the same. My hope is that by modeling vulnerability and wholeheartedness to my children, they will grow up to be empathetic and resilient adults!