Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Artist's Way for Parents - Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks - Week 10

This week I read The Artist's Way for Parents by Julia Cameron as part of the Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge.

Many years ago, I read The Artist's Way and did the morning pages, artist dates, and questions. It was a worthwhile use of my time and I got a lot out of actively reading and doing The Artist's Way. When I heard about The Artist's Way for Parents I was intrigued to see how it differed from the original book. Although it would benefit any parent, the book is definitely geared more for parents of young children (toddlers, preschoolers, and early-elementary age children).

Nonetheless, there are many activities and reflection exercises I would like to do as mentioned in the book:
- Do morning pages (three pages of longhand daily writing that the parent does alone).
- Take a creative expedition - a once-weekly dual adventure that the parent and child plan, look forward to, and take together. For example, visit the zoo, go to a children's museum, go to a new playground, visit a cathedral, or go to the library.
- Do "Highlights" - a daily bedtime ritual in which the parent and child each share their favorite moment from the day. (In all honesty, this would be easier to do when children are younger. Starting this at a tween/teen age would be challenging.)
 - List 5 thing you love and think about ways you could share each of them with your child. For example, if you like apple pie - bake a grandmother's pie recipe. If you like flowers, go to the plant store together and buy them and draw the flower together.
- Go on an Artist's Date. This is something a parent does alone. For example, outings that would be fun to do (e.g., getting a manicure, attending a concert, visiting a bakery).
- List five adventures you could take with your child. Choose one together and take a creative expedition.
- List 10 "frivolous" things that make you happy but that you believe you no longer have time to do, such as cooking or yourself, listening to classical music, and knitting. Then choose one of these things. This week, spend 15 minutes a day indulging in it.
- Go on a 20-minute walk with your child. The walk should have no agenda. Simply getting out into nature is enough. Allow yourself to take in the sights and sounds. When you return, take pen to page. Did any insights come to you as you walked?
- List three "tools for exploration" that are already in your house. Are they being used regularly or have they been dismissed? The simplest tools are best, and often inexpensive and already at hand.       - List 5 of your favorite interests. Now list 5 interests your child has that you are unfamiliar with. Can you consciously let those interests be hers alone, and allow those interests to blossom?
- List 5 places you could take your child where she could be exposed to flora (e.g., backyard, nearby park, flower section of the grocery store). Let your child have enough time to absorb the scents, colors, and shapes.
- List 5 botanical adventures you could have inside the house. For example, Press flowers between large books. Let a child choose flowers from a florist an then arrange them together at home to display in a prominent place. Another idea would be to purchase a small window box or herb garden and plant the seeds/transplants with a child.
- List your 5 favorite animals. Now ask your  child to name her 5 favorite animals. Find a way to interact with one o the animals (e.g., at a zoo, park, friend's house). After you have done this, ask your child to draw or write about her experience with the animal.
- Take turns with your child to name one thing you are grateful for. Choose one item that you named and ask your child to do the same. Make a "Creative offering" referencing the thing you are grateful for - draw a picture of it, write a song about it, make up a poem.
- List 5 talents you see in yourself. List 5 talents you see in your child. Are any the same?
- See i there is a place that could become a sort of "creative haven" for you or your child. Ideally, there should be two separate places. It is the quality, vibrancy, and thoughtfulness of the space that matters more than the size of the space itself.
- Create a "creativity corner" in your home where your child can go to begin projects. Stock the corner with assorted items that can provide inspiration.
- List 5 creative endeavors you could encourage your child to try. Now list 5 creative endeavors you could try. These needn't be time-consuming or expensive. They should simply take you slightly out of your comfort zone. For example, buy colored pencils and draw the flowers in a window box or write a poem. Choose one item from your child's list and one from your own. Try them.
- Cook something together with your child.
- What was your favorite childhood book? Do you see the themes of this book in your life and values today? Can you give that book to your child?
- Listen to several contrasting types of music with your child. Offer, without judgment, exposure to several styles and eras of music.
- Listen to your child perform something for you. Now plan to take your child to  be an audience member at a local event (e.g., high school concert, gallery, movie, play). When you are done, ask your child to name something specific that they enjoyed or appreciated.
- Take one entire evening and turn of all devices. This includes anything with a screen.
- What steps can you take to improve your own health and nutrition?
- Find one small change you can make in your own sleeping area and one small change you can make in your child's bedroom. Do you notice a difference as you begin bedtime routines?
- What rituals from your own childhood do you remember the most fondly? What small ritual could you create with your children today? Could you bring one of your cherished childhood experiences into your child's life, carrying on the tradition?
- Collect magazines and give each person a pair of scissors, glue, and a piece of poster board. Choose images that speak to yourself and arrange them as you like. Each person in the family should do this and compare the results.
- Play a game. Not a video game. What memories resurface?
- Look for an opportunity where your child can help someone with something. When it is done, ask her how she enjoyed being of service.

1 comment:

Rita said...

I think you have done or do most of these things with your girls already--LOL!
Good suggestions, though. You can adapt them for any age. :)