Kids and Art
“Art has the role in education of helping children become like themselves instead of more like everyone else.” – Sydney Gurewitz Clemens
I love this quote, but I would word it a little differently so it’s more universal; something like:
“Art has the power to help children be themselves instead of more like everyone else.”
Growing up, I always loved art. It didn’t matter what type of art it was, I enjoyed doing it all. I delighted in the creative process. I liked the challenge of learning new things and exploring different mediums. But above all else, art always made me feel like me. Art is liberating, expressive and judgment-free when you’re a kid. It’s a safe way to present yourself to the world because art is subjective. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but you.
This safe zone for kids and their art is vital to their emotional development. When kids create art and there’s no judgment, it instills confidence and stability in who they are and what they like and care about. It deepens their roots to their being and supports their yet undiscovered, life purpose. They begin to follow their bliss.
Let me ask you a question: If a child expresses themselves through an intimate art process and receives positive feedback and encouragement, how does that make them feel? They feel it’s safe to be who they are and to continue expressing what makes them happy—what they are drawn to (no pun intended). If it was met with a negative response, it could cause a child to feel exposed, vulnerable, and full of regret.
Growing up in an ever-changing body and learning the ways of the world isn’t always easy for many kids. Kids are in the process of figuring out how they fit in and sometimes change their beliefs in order to do so. Art is an amazing tool, a process that connects you with your inner being, similar to mediation. Your mind quiets, and you allow the creative process to flow. It’s a way to discover who you really are and what you truly love.
Through art, kids learn their values from within—instead of mirroring what they see around them.
Another advantage of art is risk-taking. Creating art is risky–in a good way. It pushes kids to think outside the box, to create something different and daring. It incites them to take risks in their creativity, their medium, and their process, which instills courage and ingenuity—two helpful characteristics for adulthood. Art teaches kids to follow their hearts and instincts no matter the consequence.
As a parent, always give positive feedback on your child’s art and creative process. Be their biggest fan. Encourage them to think big, to be bold, and hold nothing back. Do it with them. By letting your kid discover who they are through art, they’re building a bridge to their inner being, the most important connection in their life. It helps set them on the right path to that inner knowing we all crave to live a fulfilling and happy life.
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