Children are amazing aren't they? They are so full of curiosity, looking to explore all the creeks, animals and technology our world has to offer! They raise their hands eagerly in class to answer a question. They run to do nearly everything, and I mean, ev-ery-thing. They shout and laugh and play. They seems to use every single ounce of energy from the moment they open their eyes, to the moment their bodies give out from exhaustion. They truly are the most precious beings in existence.
What changes as we "grow up"? When do we stop running in excitement? Why, now that we're adults, do we sit at the back of a class? On that thought, why do we stop continuing to learn? Isn't learning what makes us knowledgeable, and isn't knowledge power? Where did all that fire go? Why do we seem to do more worrying and less playing?
It's amazing to me how different it is, especially when I teach a painting party. A fun activity, designed to get people to try something new. To take something once thought to be a rigorous study of line, composition, rhythm or movement, and make it an entertaining lesson filled with laughter, memories and personal masterpieces. Each time I begin a Children's Painting Party, I have to giggle. The kids are so excited to start! They are trying to guess the steps, they can't wait to tell me what two colors mix together to make green and getting them to keep the brushes out of the paint long enough to cover 2 basic rules (keep brushes in the water when not using them, and don't eat the paint - even though, it's non-toxic) is a near impossibility with how enthusiastic they are to get started.
Adult Painting Parties are a whole different ball game! They are nervous, some have serious anxiety even. I always hear, "Oh, I can't do this." or "Mine isn't going to look anything like that." This also makes me giggle, because I can see it and they can't yet. I can see the bigger "picture". I see what the painting parties are all about. I know that it has very little to do with the finished painting itself. It's about them enjoying quality time with their friends. It's about stepping outside of their comfort zones to try something new, because their sister has been wanting to do this for a long time. It's about sharing in an experience, and no matter how the painting comes out, you will forever look at that painting and remember the time you spent together. I can see it. I have seen it.
So, they take a sip of wine, take a deep breath, pick up the brush and just for a second they pause before touching it to the canvas. Then, that's where it begins. They are back to childhood! They are creating! Exploring an unfamiliar experience! They begin laughing! They begin to feel more confident! This is the adult's form of playtime with friends and family. This is what life is all about!
So, keep encouraging your children to paint, draw, create, learn and explore. The adult versions of themselves will continue to do the same.