In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought I would post a day earlier than usual and share a few of the creative lessons I have learned from my mom. Not only has she been an endless source of inspiration and my best friend, but my mom is largely responsible for the creative spirit I am today. I hope you will find some inspiration in these lessons too!
There are different types of creativity – As a child in a very artistic family, I struggled with this a lot, and sometime still do. Compared to my mom, aunts, and sister – who are all amazing at creating with their hands – I felt pretty inferior. It was my mom who consciously and consistently pointed out that I am creative and there are many forms of creative talent, and mine was different but no less valuable.
Creation requires a dream followed by hard work – While growing up, I was able to witness and participate in the birth and success of my mom’s dream – starting an educational toy store. Growing up in a toy store was a ton of fun and hugely educational! I was given daily lessons in creativity, salesmanship, customer service, bookkeeping and a huge variety of skills I use every single day. The most important lesson though, was that anyone can dream but it takes courage, action, and hard work to make it come true.
There is no “right time” for creativity – If you wait for the perfect time to be creative, it will never come – you just have to start. This takes a whole lot of courage but once you do you will have resources, people, and inspiration drawn into your life to help.
Cooking is a creative experience that should be shared – My love of cooking, baking and feeding people definitely came right from my mom. Those hours sitting in (yes, in) the kitchen sink while watching her every move, seeing the community that surrounds food, having regular family dinners, being encouraged to be creative in the kitchen, all demonstrated to me that food and creativity go hand in hand.
Eating is essential and has to be done every day, but that doesn’t mean it has to be dreaded. Many of the kitchen ideas on the site and inspiration for my upcoming e-book “Creative Solutions for Picky Eating” were ideas I was raised with. My childhood consisted of Saturday afternoons cooking with my parents or trying new food and creative ways of preparing them. I am grateful for these memories and experience, and the love of eating good healthy food they have given me.
Creativity involves seeing the objects around you in a new way – Whether it’s a jean blanket made from squares of material cut from well-loved jeans, or used coffee grounds and crushed egg shells as a rich source of garden nutrients, my mom has always been creative in looking for new ways to use old things. This is one important element to creativity, many great inventions reuse ideas and materials, recombining them in new ways, rather than being brand new. This is a skill I saw in action every day as a child.
Encouraging creativity means letting go of control – I’m sure there were many times in my childhood that my mom would have rathered we didn’t leave the house, but once we learned how to dress and what was appropriate to wear, my mom stepped back and let us be creative. This usually involved me wearing the most colorful clothes I could find, and I got special pleasure in mixing patterns and colors. (if there were sparkles, even better!)
This was only one example though. Parents often have high hopes and ideas for their children, often they want to provide their kids with the opportunities they didn’t have – in essence living through their child’s exploits and accomplishments. It takes a lot of effort to let go and allow your kids to develop their own creativity, especially when they seem to be headed down a different path then the one you imagined for them. One of the greatest gifts my mom ever gave me was the knowledge that no matter what path I chose or decisions I made, I would have her unconditional love and support. This gave me the courage to try things I wasn’t sure I could do, to fail and try again.
Now is the time to consider all the great lessons in creativity your mom gave to you and which lessons in creativity you would like to share with your children. I want to wish all the Mother’s out there a very happy and creative Mother’s day!
Do you have any favorite lessons in creativity you learned from your mom? Please leave a comment to honor her and share with us.