I never felt like a normal “Mom.” As soon as my first daughter was born, I knew in an instant that she was her own person, an infinite soul that I got to guide in this life. Parenting became a journey of joint self-discovery.
I didn’t feel like I was here to shape, mold or control her. I felt like a guide who was blessed with this wise soul who chose me as her Mom. The word “Mom” didn’t ever really resonate. Instead, I felt like I was learning along with them and they were and are as much my teacher as I am theirs.
I now have three children, ages 22, 20, and 18. I am beyond grateful for the wisdom I have picked up along the way and the opportunity I have now to witness each of them evolve into authentic, self-expressive and courageous young people.
I have taught personal creativity and spiritual growth through a sacred painting practice since 1996, and much of what I teach to adults online has been reinforced or even gathered from my journey as a Mom to my two daughters and my son. I wanted to share these with you now.
#1 Your Child is Born with Deep Inner Creative Wisdom
Creativity is as much a part of your child from day one on as is their eye color or their smile. It is as basic as breathing and just as necessary.
Creativity doesn’t have to be “taught” to your child, it just needs to be given space to express itself.
I always had crayons, watercolors, lots of paper, glue sticks… (nothing fancy) available for my kids in the kitchen at all times. I also encouraged them to express their creativity in subtler ways, whether it was choosing their clothes or weighing in on what to have for dinner.
As soon as they could talk, I was asking them about their thoughts and their opinions. I considered their own deep, inner, creative wisdom to be purer than my own, somehow closer to their awareness. “Out of the mouths of babes…”
Know that your child is not so much a “blank slate” as a masterpiece being uncovered, one day at a time. They are on a creative journey in this lifetime, one that will be guided by their own inner wisdom. Their ability to thrive along the path and create a life that lights them up is relative to how much they know and access their own brilliance. When you honor this from the very beginning, they will grow up connected to this invaluable inner guidance and inspiration.
#2 Create Non-Structured Space for Your Child to Explore Their Own Knowing
How do you do this? You create space for them to be and create however they like!
For example, a coloring book would be more structured space than a blank piece of paper. A free afternoon after school where they get to choose how to entertain themselves is more non-structured than an after school dance class.
I always made sure my kids had plenty of time that was open and free from any other agenda. Whether it is playing outside, peeling the wrappers off the crayons, playing dress-up or painting / scribbling / doodling, I let them be the creators of their own experience as much as possible.
A cardboard box can transform into a castle, a fire engine or a rocket ship when their imagination is given room to roam.
Along the way, they also learn how to entertain themselves and trust their own inner knowing. And you get to know them, who they are at their core, more and more each time you get curious about what they are thinking and imagining and allow their inner musings to be expressed.
#3 Look for What Lights Them Up
At some point early on I read that we are our most authentic self at age 8.
Even though I grew up a total wanna-be artist (after an art teacher when I was 9 said “drawing isn’t her thing.”), at age 8 I had an “art center” under our basement steps, complete with the words ART CENTER stenciled in white on the red walls.
When my kids were little, I was always paying close attention to where they got lit up! When they got really excited about something, or something seemed to come naturally to them, I made a mental note.
Your child has her/his own inner sacred spark, their unique gift only they can share with the world. It is in them, just waiting to emerge, much like a seed has within it the blueprint to grow into a flower or tree—they both simply need the right conditions to grow.
What gets them excited, what holds their attention, is a clue to the special light only they can shine. Pay attention and encourage them to explore and expand whatever is lighting them up!
#4 Understand that Your Child’s Creative Spirit is Her/His Greatest Ally
If there is one thing I could give my children, it would be creativity.
Our world is so clearly in a constant state of change. And our world is crying out for change in almost every area. Preparing our kids for their future with current facts and figures is not going to be nearly as empowering or relevant and prepaying our kids to be able to create the change they desire.
What do they have available to them? What do they want to create, to experience? What are all the ways they can do this?
Creativity ONLY knows possibility. It can ONLY look for new steps to take, solutions, visions of a brighter future, ways to heal, ways to expand….
There is no arguing how overwhelming and complicated life can be. Their is such a breadth of choices career-wise, lifestyle-wise, etc. that it can feel too big, too powerful to manage. Your child’s creative self celebrates the breadth of the “palette” they have to work with. Overwhelm is transformed into freedom. Complications become opportunities to learn, grow and expand. When she/he are tapped into their creative awareness, there is no end, no failure, no mistakes, just an exciting, hair-raising, inspiring journey!
My last bit of encouragement is for you, Zen Mama. Nurture and celebrate your own Creative Spirit. Especially if you don’t consider yourself “creative,” I want you to challenge that belief. Creativity is your chi, your prana, your life force. You are creating your own life, your family’s life, in each and every moment—you are simply either doing it with or without awareness.
Let’s create the art that is our life, and that of our child’s, with inspired awareness!
P.S. My oldest is inspired to save our oceans and encourage sustainable lifestyles. Follow her on Instagram @deepblueworld1
Whitney Freya is an expert in Inspired Living, providing practical tools & practices that free your mind from limitations and scarcity to create more in your life that lights you up from the inside out. Buy her newest book, 30 Days to Unstoppable, Be the Dream Made Visible on amazon.com. Learn more at WhitneyFreya.com